Rite Aid shares trading some 40% higher in week following 3Q conference call

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid's fundamentals are improving, and Wall Street has taken notice. 

Rite Aid stock was up slightly by three cents late Thursday afternoon from its previous close of $1.41 per share. But shares were trading at $1.02 per share on Dec. 19, the day before Rite Aid announced third quarter results. 

As DSN reported last week, Rite Aid squarely beat analyst expectations, as the generic wave and retention of Express Scripts customers helped drive better-than-expected adjusted EBIDTA and produced the company's first profitable quarter in five years.

The company posted a profit of $61.9 million compared with third-quarter 2012's loss of $52 million. The chain's last profitable quarter was first quarter 2008, reported in June 2007.

A big driver behind Rite Aid's improvement can be linked to the chain's Wellness+ loyalty card program, which had approximately 25 million active members in the quarter, a 5% increase over the same period a year ago. It was the Wellness+ loyalty program that Rite Aid executives credited for being able to retain the "vast majority" of patients gained through the Walgreens-ESI dispute. According to the company, prescriptions filled at stores open at least a year had gained by 3.6%.