Rite Aid ranks a distant third (behind Walgreen and CVS) in the US retail drugstore business, with more than 4,600 drugstores in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. Rite Aid stores generate roughly 70% of their sales from filling prescriptions, while the rest comes from selling health and beauty aids, convenience foods, greeting cards, and more, including some 3,500 Rite Aid brand private-label products. More than 60% of all Rite Aid stores are freestanding and over half have drive-through pharmacies. The company was founded in 1962 and is being purchased by pharmacy leader Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Change in Company Type
In October 2015, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Rite Aid entered into a definitive agreement under which Walgreens Boots Alliance would acquire all outstanding shares of Rite Aid for a total enterprise value of $17.2 billion. The combination of Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid creates a further opportunity to deliver a high-quality retail pharmacy choice for US consumers in an evolving and increasingly personalized healthcare environment. The transaction is expected to close in 2017. To address regulatory concerns and facilitate approval of the merger, Walgreens Boots and Rite Aid agreed in late 2016 to sell 865 Rite Aid locations to discount retailer Fred's for $950 million.
Upon completion of the merger, Rite Aid will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and is expected to initially operate under its existing brand name.
Rite Aid operates stores in 31 US states and the District of Columbia. Its largest markets are New York, California, and Pennsylvania, home to more than a third of its drugstores.
The company reports its business in two distinct segments. Retail Pharmacy Segment consists of Rite Aid stores, RediClinic and Health Dialog. Its Pharmacy Services Segment consists of EnvisionRx.
Rite Aid retail stores sell prescription drugs and a wide assortment of other merchandise, including over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aids, personal care items, cosmetics, household items, food and beverages, greeting cards, seasonal merchandise and numerous other every day and convenience products. The average Rite Aid store has about 10,000 square feet of selling space and roughly 12,700 square feet of total space.
EnvisionRx, is a national, full-service pharmacy benefit management (PBM) provider that also offers a broad range of pharmacy-related services. In addition to its transparent and traditional PBM offerings through the EnvisionRx and MedTrak PBMs, EnvisionRx also offers fully integrated mail-order and specialty pharmacy services through Orchard Pharmaceutical Services.
Rite Aid operates more than 2,300 GNC stores-within-Rite Aid-stores that sell vitamins and mineral supplements through a partnership with General Nutrition Companies, Inc. Rite Aid, which considers the in-store GNC departments to be a differentiator between it and its larger rivals, is contractually obligated to open at least 170 more GNC LiveWell stores-within-stores by the end of 2019. About 51% of Rite Aid stores had a GNC store inside as of February 2016.
The chain also offers health care services, including flu shots, other immunizations, and diabetes management consultants, at its drugstores.
Sales and Marketing
The retailer pushes its wellness + loyalty program to keep customers coming back to its stores. Wellness + members accounted for 78% of front-end sales and 67% of prescriptions filled in fiscal 2016 (ended February).
The company's wellness + with Plenti loyalty program, benefits members based on accumulating wellness + points for certain front end and prescription purchases that qualify for savings of up to 20% off every day for a year, and Plenti point rewards to provide members additional savings at Rite Aid and certain other Plenti partners like AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Macy's, Nationwide, Direct Energy, Hulu, and American Express.
The retailer spent $307.8 million on marketing and advertising in FY2016, with the money primarily being used toward weekly circular, broadcast, and digital advertising.
In fiscal 2016, about 98% of its pharmacy sales were to customers covered by third party payors (such as insurance companies, prescription benefit management companies, government agencies, private employers or other managed care providers) that agree to pay for all or a portion of a customer's eligible prescription purchases based on negotiated and contracted reimbursement rates.
During fiscal 2016, the top five third party payors accounted for 70.4% of Rite Aid's pharmacy sales. The largest third party payor, Express Scripts, represented 25.3% of pharmacy sales.
During fiscal 2016, Medicaid and related managed care Medicaid payors sales were approximately 19.9% of Rite Aid's pharmacy sales, of which the largest single Medicaid payor was 1.5% of pharmacy sales. About 31.9% of pharmacy sales were to customers covered by Medicare Part D.
In fiscal 2016 Rite Aid's net sales increased by 16% due to sales from its new Pharmacy Services segment (EnvisionRx), a pharmacy benefit management provider that was acquired in June 2015.
Revenues for its Retail Pharmacy segment were positively impacted by an increase in same store sales and same store prescription count, partially offset by a negative impact from generic introductions, lower reimbursement rates and store closings.
Net income decreased by $1.9 billion due to income tax expense of $112.9 million incurred during the year compared to a income tax benefit of $1.6 billion incurred in the previous year as the result of the reduction of the valuation allowance against the net deferred tax assets of $1.8 billion.
Rite Aid's net cash provided by the operating activities increased by 54% in 2016, primarily due to a change in accounts receivable.
A key focus of the company's strategy for fiscal 2017 is to continue expanding its retail healthcare capabilities to provide a higher level of care to the communities it serves. This includes continuing to introduce unique and integrated offerings to the healthcare marketplace by leveraging its conveniently located retail stores and the capabilities of its 100% owned subsidiaries Health Dialog, RediClinic and EnvisionRx.
Financially, its primary goal for fiscal 2017, consistent with fiscal 2016, is to continue growing same stores sales. The company will continue to invest capital into its store base through initiatives such as prescription file buys and its Wellness store remodel program as it continues building up its real estate pipeline for additional store relocations and net new stores. In addition, it will continue engaging its most loyal and valuable customers through wellness+ with Plenti, the first coalition loyalty program of its kind in the US.
Rite Aid reiterated its strategy in 2015 to accelerate its transformation into a neighborhood destination for health and wellness, much like its rivals Walgreen and CVS. That was part of what attracted Walgreen parent Walgreens Boots Alliance and made it bid $9.4 billion, with another $7.8 billion in debt assumption, for the company. The combined retailer would be #2 in the US, with 13,000 US drug stores, further dwarfing CVS' 7,800. Regulators have to approve the deal first though.
Rite Aid has been opening dozens of new stores with RediClinics in many of them, and remodeling hundreds of stores to its Wellness store format, which boasts improved interior design, expanded clinical pharmacy services, and new wellness product offerings and merchandising. In FY2016, the chain converted 400 stores to its Wellness store format (after converting some 450 stores the year before), which brought the total number of Wellness stores to 2,042 by the end of the year. The retailer plans to add another 350 Wellness remodels in fiscal 2017, along with 50 relocations and net new store openings.
To grow existing store sales, the retailer has been pushing its immunization services and loyalty membership programs such as the the Wellness +, which rewards customers with redeemable points with every purchase from Rite Aid. In 2015, the company expanded on its successful loyalty program with the enhanced Wellness + with Plenti savings program, as well as the Wellness 65+ loyalty program for seniors, which now boasts over 1.7 million members. Also in 2015, in continuing its focus on immunizations, the retailer launched its Vaccine Central online and in-store program to promote the importance of vaccinations and allow customers to track their specific immunization needs.
Rite Aid also strategically acquires companies that complement its health service offerings or expand its retail market reach. In 2015 and 2014, it purchased RediClinic and its 30 retail clinics in central Texas to emphasize its wellness strategy, and two companies that expanded its pharmacy benefit management expertise and its health care analytics.
Additionally, through recent partnerships with drug distributors, Rite Aid expects to grow business and enhance its purchasing and distribution efficiencies to fuel its long-term growth plans. In fiscal 2014, for example, Rite Aid expanded its agreement with drug distributor McKesson for pharmaceutical purchasing and distribution. As part of the new five-year agreement, McKesson assumed responsibility for purchasing all brand and generic medications dispensed in Rite Aid stores, as well as delivering them to the chain's 4,600 locations.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In February 2015, Rite Aid acquire Ohio-based EnvisionRx, a national, full service PBM company for $2 billion. The deal emphasized Rite Aids move toward becoming a retail healthcare company, and allowed it to enhance its pharmacy offerings across its retail, specialty, and mail-order channels to employers and health plans seeking more cost-effective solutions.
In April 2014, Rite Aid acquired Boston-based Health Dialog, a provider of health coaching, shared decision making tools and health care analytics, from Bupa, a London based international health care services group. Health Dialog will operate as a 100% owned subsidiary of Rite Aid. The purchase furthered Rite Aid's goal of advancing its Health Alliance program.
Also in April 2014, the company bought Houston-based RediClinic, an operator of 30 retail clinics in the greater Houston, Austin, and San Antonio areas, to further its health and wellness strategy. Rite Aid paid a combined $86 million and assumed debt of $2.5 million related to the two purchases.