The Camp Hill, Pa., company said Thursday that pharmacy revenue from stores open at least a year climbed 3.1 percent, while sales from the front-end, or area outside the pharmacy, slipped less than 1 percent.
Revenue from stores open at least a year—or same-store sales—is considered a key indicator of a retailer's health because it leaves out the potentially distorting results from locations that have opened or closed in the last year.
Rite Aid shares 4 percent in morning trading after rising to their highest level in more than 5 years earlier.
Prescriptions accounted for more than 68 percent of drugstore sales and their revenue grew despite another hit from generic drug growth. An influx of cheaper generic equivalents to brand-name medicines has hurt revenue for Rite Aid and other drugstore chains for several quarters now. But the generics also help drugstore earnings because they come with a wider margin between the price the pharmacy pays to buy them and the reimbursement it receives for doling them out.
Total drugstore revenue for September also rose 1.9 percent to about $1.94 billion.
Rite Aid ran 4,603 drugstores at the end of September, or 36 fewer than the same period last year. It is the nation's third largest drugstore chain, trailing only Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp.
Shares of Rite Aid jumped 20 cents, or 4 percent, to $5.21 in morning trading after rising as high as $5.30 earlier— the stock's highest price in more than 5 years. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell slightly.
Rite Aid stock has more than tripled in value since closing 2012 at $1.36. The company has exceeded investor expectations by reporting four straight quarterly profits after a string of losses.