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Duane Reade Holdings, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2008 Results
Date:3/10/2009

increased by 2.4%, with a front-end same-store sales increase of 1.5% and a pharmacy same-store sales increase of 3.6%. During the fourth quarter, the Company opened six new stores. At the end of 2008, the Company operated 251 stores, compared to 242 stores at the end of 2007.

Total front-end sales increased 3.1% over the prior year period with strong performance in food and beverages, over-the-counter products and daily needs categories. The front-end same-store sales increase was positively impacted by approximately 0.2% due to the switch of Zyrtec, a prescription allergy medication, to over-the-counter status. Additionally, in June 2008, the Company raised the sales price on its cigarettes commensurate with an increase in cigarette excise taxes in New York State. Although such additional sales do not result in any additional profit to the Company, the increase in the sales price on cigarettes positively impacted front-end same-store sales by 1.1%. The pharmacy retail sales growth of 3.8% was attributable to a strong same-store sales performance and increases in average prescription prices. The aforementioned switch of Zyrtec to over-the-counter status negatively impacted pharmacy same-store sales by approximately 0.5%. The percentage of generic drugs dispensed increased by 2.8% over the prior year. Generic drugs typically sell at lower prices but yield higher margins and profitability than branded drugs. The higher proportion of generics adversely impacted the pharmacy same-store sales increase by approximately 3.1%.

Gross margin for the fourth quarter declined to 30.1% from 30.7% in the fourth quarter of 2007, due to a $1.8 million increase in the LIFO charge and an increased proportion of lower margin pharmacy resale activity. FIFO gross margin on net retail sales, which excludes the LIFO charge and pharmacy resale activity, increased to 33.0% from 31.9% in the prior year period, reflecting the impact of improved front-end
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SOURCE Duane Reade Holdings, Inc.
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