SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or an amendment to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This report, as well as our other public filings or public statements, include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are often identified by terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “will” and similar expressions and include references to assumptions and relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:
|●||the impact of widespread health developments, including the continued impact of the global coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, the changing consumer behavior and preferences (including preferred shopping locations, vaccine hesitancy and the emergence of new variants), and the impact of those things on the broader economy, financial and labor markets, wages, availability and access to credit and capital, our front-end and pharmacy operations and services, supply chain including shipping delays, container and trucker shortages, port congestion and other logistics problems, our associates and executive and administrative personnel, our third-party service providers (including suppliers, vendors and business partners), and customers. In addition, continued shortages of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other employee turnover as a result of the ongoing “great resignation” occurring throughout the economy, and the impact of potential vaccine mandates in the markets in which we operate, may inhibit our ability to maintain store hours at preferred levels. Any of these developments could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and results of operations; |
|●||our ability to successfully implement our RxEvolution strategy, attract and retain a sufficient number of our target consumers, integrate operations such as Elixir and any acquisitions, implement and integrate information technology and digital services, obtain permits required for store remodels, and improve the operating performance of our stores and pharmacy benefit management (“PBM”) operations;|
|●||our high level of indebtedness, the ability to refinance such indebtedness on acceptable terms, and our ability to satisfy our obligations and the other covenants contained in our debt agreements;|
|●||the nature, cost and outcome of pending and future litigation, other legal or regulatory proceedings, or governmental investigations, including those related to Opioids, “usual and customary” pricing or other matters;|
|●||general competitive, economic, industry, market, political (including healthcare reform) and regulatory conditions, including impacts of inflation or other pricing environment factors on the Company's costs and our ability to pass on price increases to our customers, including as a result of inflationary and deflationary pressures, a decline in consumer spending or deterioration in consumer financial position, whether due to inflation or other factors, as well as other factors specific to the markets in which we operate;|
|●||the severity and resulting impact of the cough, cold and flu season;|
|●||the impact on retail pharmacy business as PBM payors incent or mandate movement away from retail pharmacies to PBM mail order pharmacies;|
|●||our ability to achieve the benefits of our efforts to reduce the costs of our generic drugs;|
|●||the risk that changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including to those relating to labor or wages, the Health Care Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, the repeal of all or part of the Patient Protection or the Affordable Care Act (or “ACA”), and decisions of agencies and courts including the United States Supreme Court regarding those and other matters relevant to the Company or its operations, and any regulations enacted thereunder may occur;|
|●||the impact of the loss of one or more major third party payor contracts and the risk that providers and state contract changes may occur;|
|●||the risk that we may need to take further impairment charges if our future results do not meet our expectations;|
|●||our ability to sell our Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) receivables, in whole or in part, which could negatively impact our liquidity and leverage ratio if we do not consummate a sale;|
|●||our ability to grow prescription count, realize front-end sales growth, and improve and grow the operations of our PBM;|
|●||our ability to achieve cost savings and the other benefits of our organizational restructuring within our anticipated timeframe, if at all;|
|●||decisions to close additional stores and distribution centers or undertake additional refinancing activities, which could result in further charges;|
|●||our ability to manage expenses and our investments in working capital;|
|●||the continued impact of gross margin pressure in the PBM industry due to continued consolidation and client demand for lower prices while providing enhanced service offerings;|
|●||risks related to breaches of our (or our vendors’) information or payment systems or unauthorized access to confidential or personal information of our associates or customers;|
|●||our ability to maintain our current pharmacy services business and obtain new pharmacy services business, including maintaining renewals of expiring contracts, avoiding contract termination rights that may permit certain of our clients to terminate their contracts prior to their expiration, early price renegotiations prior to contract expirations and the risk that we cannot meet client guarantees;|
|●||our ability to manage our Medicare Part D Plan medical loss ratio (“MLR”) and meet the financial obligations of the plan;|
|●||the risk that we could experience deterioration in our current Star rating with the CMS or incur CMS penalties and/or sanctions;|
|●||the expiration or termination of our Medicare or Medicaid managed care contracts by federal or state governments;|
|●||changes in future exchange or interest rates (including the impact on our variable rate indebtedness) or credit ratings, changes in tax laws, regulations, rates and policies; and|
|●||other risks and uncertainties described from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).|
We undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this report, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this report. Our actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from the results expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences are discussed in the sections entitled “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Continuing Operations—Overview and
Factors Affecting Our Future Prospects” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Additionally, the continued impact of COVID-19 could heighten many of the risk factors described herein.
Item 1. Business
Rite Aid Corporation (“Rite Aid” or the “Company”) is on the front lines of delivering health care services and retail products to over one million Americans daily. Our pharmacists are uniquely positioned to engage with customers and improve their health outcomes. We provide an array of whole being health products and services for the entire family through over 2,400 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. Through Elixir, our pharmacy benefits manager, we provide pharmacy benefits and services to over two million members nationwide.
Our corporate headquarters are located at 30 Hunter Lane, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011, and our telephone number is (717) 761-2633. Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol of “RAD.” We were incorporated in 1968 and are a Delaware corporation.
The terms “Company,” “Rite Aid,” “we,” “our” or “us,” as used herein and unless otherwise stated or indicated by context, refer to Rite Aid Corporation and its affiliates. The term “affiliates” means direct and indirect subsidiaries of Rite Aid Corporation and partnerships and joint ventures in which such subsidiaries are partners.
We continue to focus and implement our strategic initiatives aimed at operating as a fully-integrated, stand-alone healthcare company with a retail footprint. Our key accomplishments in fiscal 2022 included, i) increased Adjusted EBITDA by $68.2 million over the prior year, ii) increased revenues by $525.0 million over the prior year, iii) entered into a comprehensive rebate aggregation agreement that has enabled us to expand gross margin at Elixir and has made us more competitive in the marketplace, iv) completed our integration of Bartell Drugs and moved into the lead position in the Seattle market, and v) took additional steps to improve our capital structure which included paying off the remaining $91 million of our calendar 2023 bonds and amending and extending our revolving credit facility, extending the maturity out to August 2026. As a result of this extension, we have no debt maturing until July 2025.
We report our business in two distinct segments: our Retail Pharmacy Segment, which consists of Rite Aid, Bartell Drug stores and Health Dialog, and our Pharmacy Services Segment, which consists of Elixir, our PBM.
Retail Pharmacy Segment— In our Rite Aid retail stores, our highly-trained pharmacists dispense medications pursuant to prescriptions written by medical providers and educate our customers on alternative remedies that can supplement traditional options. We offer a wide range of healthcare services, including administering immunizations against COVID-19, the flu, shingles and more; assisting our customers with high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes; providing guidance on combating obesity and tobacco addiction; and educating our customers on managing medications and potential side effects. Throughout the pandemic, our pharmacists have been on the front lines of testing and vaccinating, and we made great strides in changing perceptions of pharmacists as providers whose reach extends well beyond filling prescriptions. We believe that offerings such as these have established pharmacists as the most accessible and trusted last-mile connectors in healthcare.
In fiscal 2022, prescription drug sales accounted for 70.0% of our total drugstore sales. We believe that our pharmacy operations will continue to represent a significant part of our business due to a combination of our efforts to expand the role of our over 6,400 pharmacists as whole-being health advocates; demographic trends such as an aging population and increased life expectancy; our focus on growth customers, particularly women between the ages of 25 to 49 who take care of themselves, their children, aging parents, and even pets; anticipated growth in the federally funded Medicare Part D prescription program as “baby boomers” continue to enroll; and the discovery of new and better prescription drug and over-the-counter therapies. In addition, we offer a wide assortment of front-end merchandise to complement our pharmacy services and to provide convenience to our customers. We carry a full assortment of front-end products, which accounted for the remaining 30.0% of our total drug store sales in fiscal 2022. Front-end products include over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aids, personal care items, cosmetics, household items, food and beverages, greeting cards, seasonal merchandise, pet care, and numerous other everyday and convenience products.
We seek to differentiate our stores from other chain drugstores, in part, through our emphasis on the benefits of both traditional and alternative remedies, a reconstituted assortment of clean, natural, organic, and eco-friendly merchandise, our flagship store format, further investment in owned brands and our strategic partnership with GNC, a retailer of vitamin and mineral supplements. We offer a wide variety of products through our portfolio of owned brands, which contributed approximately 19% of our front-end sales in fiscal 2022 and which we are positioning for future growth.
We completed the acquisition of the Bartell Drug Company during December 2020. The strategic acquisition of the Bartell Drug Company fits into our RxEvolution strategy, complementing our commitment to total health and wellness, the importance of the pharmacist as a trusted health advisor, and the critical role of the neighborhood pharmacy. This expansion within the greater Seattle area will allow us to better service customers, health plans and healthcare providers.
The average size of each store in our chain is approximately 13,600 square feet, and average store size is larger for our locations in the western United States. As of February 26, 2022, 59% of our stores were freestanding; 55% of our stores included a drive-through pharmacy; and 67% included a GNC store within a Rite Aid store.
Health Dialog is a provider of healthcare coaching and disease management services to health plans and employers. Health Dialog has robust analytics and service offerings that are designed in response to client requests. Health Dialog provides these services using a call-in line staffed by nurse practitioners and through an online platform. We are currently revitalizing Health Dialog to better serve the changing needs of health plan clients, including assisting with reducing hospitalizations, increasing medication adherence and delivering significant savings.
Pharmacy Services Segment—Elixir, our mid-market national pharmacy benefits manager (“PBM”), provides a suite of PBM offerings including technology solutions, mail delivery services, specialty pharmacy, network and rebate administration, claims adjudication and pharmacy discount programs. Elixir also provides prescription discount programs and Medicare Part D insurance offerings for individuals and groups. Elixir provides services to various clients across its different lines of business, including major health plans, commercial employers, labor groups and state and local governments, representing over 2 million covered lives, including approximately 0.7 million covered lives through our Medicare Part D insurance offerings. Elixir continues to focus its efforts and offerings to its target market of small to mid-market employers, labor unions and regional health plans, including provider-led health plans and government sponsored Medicaid and Medicare plans.
Elixir is an integral component of our strategy and we believe that Elixir will become a differentiated market leader by lowering total healthcare costs through consumer engagement. We are modernizing our technology platforms, enhancing our clinical programs, and launching our new specialty offering across our book of business. For our markets that overlap with Rite Aid and Bartell stores, we can provide highly curated clinical offerings that not only lowers costs, but also engage members in our stores with our pharmacists.
The COVID-19 crisis brought many new challenges to the industry and severely impacted the U.S. economy. We executed preparedness plans to maintain continuity of our operations, including transitioning many office-based associates to a remote work environment. We also provided enhanced benefits to our associates, and expanded resources to assist associates with the stress caused by the pandemic. Going forward, we expect to continue to provide COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and boosters, as well as incurring the corresponding operating and administrative expenses, as COVID-19 becomes part of everyday life.
Aside from the effects of COVID-19, the rate of pharmacy sales growth in the United States continues to be negatively impacted by a decline in new blockbuster drugs, drug safety concerns, higher copays and an increase in the use of generic (non-brand name) drugs, which are less expensive but do generate higher gross margins. New drug development in the next few years is expected to be concentrated in specialty prescriptions, which are high-cost drugs targeted toward complex or rare chronic conditions. On the other hand, we expect prescription usage to continue to grow in the coming years due to the aging U.S. population, increased life expectancy, “baby boomers” continuing to become eligible for the federally funded Medicare prescription program, and new drug therapies. Additionally, rising U.S.
healthcare costs and the shortage of primary care physicians are creating opportunities for pharmacists and drugstores to play a more active role in driving positive health outcomes for patients. Services such as immunizations, including those for COVID-19, medication therapy management, chronic condition management, clinics, medication adherence and counseling can all be handled by our trained pharmacists.
In terms of our traditional drug dispensing business, generic prescription drugs continue to help lower overall costs for customers and third-party payors. We believe the utilization of existing generic pharmaceuticals will continue to remain strong, although the pace of introduction of new generic drugs has slowed. The gross profit from a generic drug prescription in the retail drugstore industry is generally greater than the gross profit from a brand drug prescription. However, the sale amount can be substantially less and has impacted our overall revenues and same store sales.
The retail drugstore industry is highly competitive and consolidation has accelerated. We believe that such trends as vertical integration retail pharmacy companies with PBMs and insurance companies (such as CVS Health), aggressive generic pricing programs at competitors such as Wal-Mart and various supermarket chains, and increased utilization of digital commerce, will further increase competitive pressures in the industry. Front-end product pricing has continued to be highly promotional in the retail drugstore business, which contributes to additional competitive pressures.
The retail drugstore industry continues to rely significantly on third-party payors. Over the past several years, third-party payors, including the Medicare Part D plans and the state-sponsored Medicaid and related managed care Medicaid agencies, have changed the eligibility requirements of participants and have successfully reduced certain reimbursement rates. This trend is expected to continue, which puts added pressure on Rite Aid and our competitors’ results. Medicare Part D providers have also introduced plans that have restricted network options, under which a patient can elect a plan with a lower copay in exchange for the choice to use a limited number of pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. In order to participate in these restricted networks, retail pharmacies generally are required to accept lower reimbursement rates. We expect the use of these restricted network strategies to continue to increase. When third party payors, including the Medicare Part D program and state-sponsored Medicaid agencies, reduce the number of participants and/or reduce their reimbursement rates, sales and margins in the industry could be reduced, and profitability of the industry adversely affected. These possible adverse effects can be partially offset by lowering our product cost, controlling expenses, dispensing higher-margin generics, finding new revenue streams through pharmacy services and growing our share of dispensing prescriptions.
The PBM industry is generally concentrated among the three largest PBMs, although niche PBMs and organizations seeking to carve out specific PBM-related services continue to emerge. Plan sponsor clients of PBMs are seeking new and innovative solutions to manage pharmacy benefit costs. Certain market segments, such as regional health plans, union/municipal plans, and certain mid-market employers are seeking viable alternatives to the “Big 3” PBM providers. Also, plan sponsors with covered populations in geographically concentrated areas, such as hospital/health system clients and small to mid-sized employers, are seeking to leverage geographic opportunities to negotiate more favorable pharmacy pricing and/or integrate their community based clinical management resources, with integrated PBM and pharmacy providers, such as Elixir and Rite Aid pharmacies.
As a healthcare company with a retail footprint operating in diverse communities throughout the country and engaging over one million customers per day through our various lines of business, we are positioned to continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of our customers, associates, and neighbors. During fiscal 2022, we have been instrumental in America’s fight against COVID-19, delivering over 14 million vaccine doses and administering over 3 million PCR tests. Our role in fighting the pandemic allowed us to foster new customer relationships, convincingly demonstrate the central role of the pharmacist in American healthcare, and create a suite of technology tools that we can continue to leverage for future clinical initiatives. As we look past the heart of the pandemic period, our company is well-positioned for a new phase of growth.
While we remain committed to the pillars of our RxEvolution strategy for re-invigorating our brand and go-to-market approach, we are focused on initiatives spanning a number of growth vectors available to us: 1) Deepening our
share in the markets and segments we currently serve; 2) Expanding our offerings to new markets, segments, and customers; and 3) Creating new offerings leveraging our portfolio of assets to meet the evolving needs of customers and other stakeholders. We are excited about the growth opportunities we see before us and their potential to drive greater earnings, new relationships, and innovative ways of going to market.
1. Deepening our share in the markets and segments we currently serve
In the pharmacy, we are developing new tools and methods to boost medication adherence. We see this as win-win for all stakeholders. According to published research, proper adherence rates for most medications fall in the 50-60% range. This lack of adherence leads to approximately 125,000 avoidable deaths each year and hundreds of billions of preventable medical expenses. While there are multiple causes of non-adherence, there are levers available to us that we believe can influence patients to become more adherent to their prescription drugs. Increases in overall adherence can drive significant increases in gross profit. We are also working to increase ancillary immunizations through tools that identify customers with gaps.
In the front end of our stores, we are focused on improving the variety and unit economics of our Own Brand products, driving increased loyalty through our newly launched Rite Aid Rewards program, partnering with suppliers to curb inflationary pressures, and scaling our beauty assortment – with a particular eye to the evolving tastes of our customers. Our new beauty assortment showed 10% year-on-year growth in our pilot locations and we plan to roll out these improvements to our broader fleet. We continue to make necessary investments in refreshing our portfolio of stores to enable a welcoming and enjoyable shopping experience. Our comprehensive approach to merchandising is aimed at enabling customers to achieve not only physical health but general wellbeing both inside and out.
We continue to broaden our penetration into online channels. We have grown e-commerce sales through continued improvements to our web and mobile digital experiences and launched a Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPS) option this year. Revenues from our third-party delivery and marketplace channels grew by 50% in fiscal 2022 and we expect similar growth rates in fiscal 2023.
Finally, we believe Elixir has become well-positioned to be a growth driver in the coming years. We have improved our pricing positioning through strong network contracts and our new rebate aggregator. The new pricing positioning is enabling us to deliver a unique and compelling value proposition. Our Elixir Savings cash discount business continues to grow in both EBITDA and revenue. We have identified meaningful EBITDA opportunity by improving our contracts, gaining access to more limited distribution drugs and growing volume from PBM clients and other parties.
2. Expanding our offerings
In the coming year we are focused on a) expanding our footprint of stores into underserved markets; b) expanding our merchandise selection within our stores through store-within-a-store partnerships, and c) bringing our suite of services to a broader swath of clients.
|a)||Expanding our store footprint – Approximately 1 in 7 Americans live more than 5 miles away from their nearest pharmacy, providing considerable opportunity for growth of our footprint into new markets and states that Rite Aid does not serve today. We plan to launch small-format stores centered around pharmacy fulfillment and clinical services, with a particular focus on markets where access to pharmacy is limited.|
|b)||Store-within-a-store partnerships – We are developing store-within-a-store partnerships with well-known consumer-oriented retailers and brands. These creative partnerships will leverage our space to provide an exciting new range of products and services to our customers in a working-capital efficient manner.|
|c)||Bringing services to new clients – We are revitalizing our Health Dialog population health solution to better serve the changing needs of a growing variety of health plan clients. Health Dialog has robust analytics and service offerings that are designed in response to client requests. We are also developing relationships with new types of customers, including pharma manufacturers|
3. Creating new offerings leveraging our portfolio of assets
Although we are most well-known for our over 2,400 retail community pharmacies, we also have a broad portfolio of complementary assets including: specialty and mail order pharmacies with national scale; a full-service PBM with scale, flexibility, and expertise; a claims adjudication platform; a prescription discount card services platform; medication adherence and clinical services from Health Dialog; a strong network of relationships across the retail and health care value chains; and, most importantly, a strong and loyal base of 35M+ customers. We are bringing these assets together in synergistic ways to create offerings that address the unmet needs of customers, payers, and other stakeholders across healthcare and retail.
We are growing our health plan business, focused on improving clinical and economic outcomes for plan members by leveraging our pharmacy expertise and customer touchpoints. We currently have contracts with five health plans, with another dozen in the pipeline.
We expect to grow our service offerings to other PBMs, anchored by licensing access to our leading claims adjudication platform.
We are establishing strategic partnerships with healthcare and retail innovators to help them scale by providing much-needed products and services to our customer base.
Finally, we are continually establishing additional touchpoints with customers – existing and new – via digital channels to create a seamless digital customer experience.
Products and Services
Sales of prescription drugs for our Retail Pharmacy segment represented approximately 70.0%, 66.7% and 67.0% of our total drugstore sales in fiscal years 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. In fiscal years 2022, 2021 and 2020, prescription drug sales were $12.2 billion, $10.9 billion and $10.4 billion, respectively. See the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Continuing Operations” and our consolidated financial statements.
We carry a full assortment of non-prescription, or front-end, products. The types and number of front-end products in each store vary, and selections are based on customer needs and preferences and available space. No single front-end product category contributed significantly to our sales during fiscal 2022. Our Retail Pharmacy segment’s principal classes of products in fiscal 2022 were the following:
Over-the-counter medications and personal care
Health and beauty aids
General merchandise and other
We offer a wide variety of own brand products to meet the needs of our customers in virtually every non-pharmacy department. We continue to focus on increasing own brand sales and penetration by expanding our assortment, redefining our brand architecture and brands, refreshing our package design, and driving greater support through our marketing. We believe that today’s consumer expects high quality, differentiated own brand products that deliver performance equal to national brands at a better value. A refresh of our own brand offering is critical to improving our gross margin and reducing our working capital investment in inventory.
Through Elixir, we provide a fully integrated suite of PBM offerings including technology solutions, mail delivery services, specialty pharmacy, network and rebate administration, claims adjudication and pharmacy discount programs. In addition to its PBM offerings, Elixir also offers fully integrated mail-order and specialty pharmacy services
through Elixir Pharmacy. Through Elixir Insurance (“EI”), Elixir also serves seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. In addition, Elixir, through its Laker Software, performs prescription adjudication services for its own claims.
All of our stores are integrated into a common pharmacy system, which enables our customers to fill or refill prescriptions in any of our stores throughout the country, identifies adverse drug interactions, and enables our pharmacists to fill prescriptions more accurately and efficiently. Our customers may also order prescription refills online, at www.riteaid.com, using our mobile app, or over the phone through our telephonic automated refill systems for pick up at a Rite Aid store or home delivery from a majority of our stores. We have automated pharmacy dispensing units in high volume stores, which are linked to our pharmacists’ computers that fill and label prescription drug orders. We utilize central fill technology to facilitate the automated picking, packaging, and labeling of prescriptions in a central filling location, which are sent to certain retail stores for delivery to the customer. We also utilize workload sharing technology within our stores, whereby stores within a close proximity can shift the fulfillment of prescriptions to stores with excess capacity. The efficiency of these processes allows our pharmacists to spend more time consulting with and answering our customers’ questions and concerns about their prescription medications and health conditions. Additionally, each of our stores employs point-of-sale technology that supports sales analysis and recognition of customer trends. This same point-of-sale technology facilitates the maintenance of perpetual inventory records which, together with our sales analysis, drives our automated inventory replenishment process.
We launched our new website, mobile application, and e-commerce solution in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. This personalized user experience is built on a modern and scalable platform that will serve as the foundation for our digital and omni-channel solutions. Through RxEvolution, we will continue to enhance and modernize the technology platforms that support our company, with a meaningful focus on customer experience and design.
We continue to enhance our Elixir mobile app with a focus on providing members with the best and most effective low cost medications, in a manner that is completely personalized. It will not simply facilitate transactions, but rather advance a members ability to improve whole health.
Elixir continues to modernize the technology platforms that service its core PBM business as well as other PBMs. Initial focus is on the customer care experience, clinical operations, client implementations and data exchange. We see an opportunity to further enhance our technology leadership in this market and improving operational efficiencies both internally as well as externally for our clients. We are leveraging a cloud platform shaped with our decades of experience in scalable claims adjudication, customer care and clinical programs while transforming our products and services to offer a PBM-as-a-Service (PBMaaS) model. This ecosystem will serve our target markets to include small to mid-sized PBMs and mid to large health plans.
Sources and Availability of Raw Materials
Since fiscal 2015, under our pharmaceutical purchasing and delivery agreement (“Purchasing and Delivery Agreement”) with limited exceptions, we purchased all of our branded pharmaceutical products and almost all of our generic (non-brand name) pharmaceutical products from McKesson. If our relationship with McKesson were disrupted, we could temporarily experience difficulties filling prescriptions for branded and generic drugs until we execute a replacement wholesaler agreement or develop and implement self-distribution processes.
We purchase our non-pharmaceutical merchandise from numerous manufacturers and wholesalers. We believe that competitive sources are readily available for substantially all of the non-pharmaceutical merchandise we carry and that the loss of any one supplier would not have a material effect on our business.
We sell private brand and co-branded products that generally are supplied by numerous sources. The GNC branded vitamin and mineral supplement products that we sell in our stores are developed by GNC, and along with our Rite Aid brand vitamin and mineral supplements, are manufactured by GNC.
Customers and Third Party Payors
During fiscal 2022, our stores filled approximately 238.1 million prescriptions and served over one million customers per day. The loss of any one customer would not have a material impact on our results of operations.
In fiscal 2022, substantially all of our 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 2022, the top five third party payors accounted for approximately 77.4% of our pharmacy sales. The largest third party payor, Caremark, represented 32.1% of our pharmacy sales. The loss of, or a significant change to the prescription drug reimbursement rates by, a major third party payor could decrease our revenue and harm our business.
During fiscal 2022, Medicaid and related managed Medicaid payors sales were approximately 18.2% of our pharmacy sales, of which the largest single Medicaid payor was approximately 2.1% of our pharmacy sales. During fiscal 2022, approximately 38.2% of our pharmacy sales were to customers covered by Medicare Part D.
Through our Pharmacy Services segment we provide innovative pharmaceutical solutions for our clients which are primarily employers, insurance companies, unions, government employee groups, health plans, managed Medicaid plans, Medicare plans, and other sponsors of health benefit plans, and individuals throughout the United States.
During fiscal 2022, Medicare Part D payor revenue was approximately 56.1% of our Pharmacy Services Segment revenue, of which the largest single Medicare Part D payer was approximately 41.1% of our Pharmacy Services Segment revenue. During fiscal 2022, approximately 10.1% of our Pharmacy Services Segment revenue was to customers covered by Commercial payors. During fiscal 2022, approximately 6.3% of our Pharmacy Services Segment revenue was to customers covered by Medicaid payors.
The retail drugstore and pharmacy benefit management industries are highly competitive. Some of our competitors are larger, better capitalized, have access to greater financial and other resources, are diversified through other industries and have an international presence. Additionally, some of our competitors are vertically integrated, allowing them to leverage healthcare, health plan, and PBM operations together with their retail pharmacy footprint. Increasingly, these competitors are expanding in our existing markets. Greater competition exerts pressure on our pricing and promotional models and may force us to modify or reduce our prices.
Our retail drugstore operations compete with, among others, retail drugstore chains, such as Walgreens and CVS, along with independently owned drugstores, supermarkets such as Kroger, mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target, discount stores, wellness offerings, dollar stores and mail order and internet pharmacies. We compete on the basis of store location, payor access, convenience, price, customer service, and product selection.
Our pharmacy benefit management company competes with other pharmacy benefit managers, such as Caremark, Express Scripts, OptumRx and mid-market PBMs. We will increasingly compete on the basis of our PBM service offerings flexibility, clinical offerings, network management, Rite Aid as an anchor (in Rite Aid markets), omni-channel consumer engagement and the strength of client facing teams.
We believe continued consolidation in the healthcare industry, and the aggressive pricing on front-end products by supermarkets and mass merchandisers and other PBM service providers will further increase competitive pressures in our industries.
Marketing and Advertising
In fiscal 2022, we advanced efforts to provide a seamlessly connected omni-channel customer experience. We continued to take a holistic approach to managing our media mix while shifting towards a digital-centric strategy. Marketing and advertising expense was approximately $146.1 million. This spend encompasses digital marketing to support pharmacy and front end sales, the wellness+ program and customer relationship marketing, in-store
communication, weekly circular (print and digital), marketing campaign support including television, radio, and direct mail. During fiscal 2022, our marketing activities were primarily focused on the following:
|●||Driving the awareness of COVID-19 vaccination and testing, as well as flu and ancillary immunizations.|
|●||Continuing to drive the awareness of the new Rite Aid brand through in-store, digital, broadcast, and print media. This was a significant portion of our marketing spend, and we continue to reinforce the new brand proposition into fiscal 2023.|
|●||Supporting the launch of new items and brands as part of our merchandising refresh, including the support of new own brand items.|
|●||Continued optimization of print media to drive marketing spend into more efficient and effective digital channels. We executed a multi-phase test and control program to determine where print advertising was less productive than digital spend, and adjusted marketing investment by channel throughout the year based on these learnings.|
|●||Continued weekly promotional marketing as an important component of our marketing message mix, as we focused on promotions of items and categories that were most relevant to our customers during COVID-19.|
|●||Supporting our previous loyalty program and launching our new Rite Aid Rewards as a component of our customer proposition.|
|●||Supporting market-specific initiatives and individual store programs such as grand openings for new and remodeled stores, script file acquisitions, and store divestitures.|
|●||Focused efforts on our omni-channel marketing initiatives including our Rite Aid mobile app, social media, our riteaid.com website and e-commerce.|
|●||Additional programs focused on safety and convenience during the pandemic such as delivery and pickup.|
As a pharmacy services company that operates in communities throughout the country and supports the whole health of millions of customers through our various lines of business, Rite Aid is positioned to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our customers. Our mission is to serve as the everyday care connector that drives lower health care costs through better coordination, stronger engagement and personalized services that help our customers achieve whole health for life. At the core of delivering on that mission is our associates.
We believe our associates are integral to the success of our business transformation, through our RxEvolution strategy. In order to transform and grow our business, it is important for us to invest in our associates, giving them opportunities to grow professionally, care for themselves and their families, work in diverse and inclusive environments and be whole health ambassadors in their communities.
As of February 26, 2022, we employed over 53,000 associates across the United States, including Puerto Rico.
Communication and Engagement
Because our associates are so essential to our business strategy, we engage with them through formal surveys, town halls, focus groups and listening sessions to measure and understand their perspectives and gather critical feedback. For the past three years, more than 70% of our associates have participated in our surveys. The surveys give us valuable information regarding topics such as career development and growth, well-being, compensation, recognition, leadership and communication effectiveness, and opportunities specific to diversity and inclusion efforts.
Training and Development
Growing and developing our talent is key to our future and our ability to lead at our best every day. We seek to inspire a high-performance culture and promote talent development. We offer development on leadership, safety, compliance and other critical skills necessary to run our business. We offer various instructor-led and virtual instructor-led programs and maintain a vast curriculum of relevant, on-demand learning and development resources.
New to the company is a multi-year project to establish a foundation for how we hire and develop our associates through a competency framework. Working through key business partners, Success Profiles, skills identified to drive success within a particular role, have been established for our pharmacy & retail store associates. Moving forward the company will establish similar profiles for roles throughout the organization. Key offerings include learning modules and resources tied to the identified skills and structured career-pathing opportunities are planned.
We also provide discounted tuition and reimbursement programs for associates to pursue degrees at select colleges or universities as well as offering loan repayment assistance for pharmacy interns. We have been certified as an ACEP, Accredited Provider of Continuing Pharmacy Education, which allows us to offer courses that count toward the CE licensing requirements of our pharmacists. In addition, we offer an accredited pharmacy technician certification program. Both efforts allow us to develop pharmacy associates to meet the demands of our business.
Our goal is to grow leaders at all levels and provide associates opportunities to develop and grow the skills needed to meet personal goals and support Rite Aid’s future growth and success.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We continue to advance our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) programs as we enable our RxEvolution. We know that to build change that is meaningful and lasting, we must engage the unique perspectives, experiences and approaches that only come from a diverse workforce. We believe that an inclusive and welcoming workplace is not only desirable but essential, and we are committed to building a workplace in which every associate can thrive. So we are being intentional to bring to life to our DEI Commitment Statement which aligns with our values so that our associates know what behaviors we expect them to demonstrate and our customers, shareholders and other key stakeholders understand our aspirations.
Our new DEI strategy roadmap will help us advance further in our DEI journey. It includes the integration of DEI into human resource policies as well as business processes to create measurable and sustainable improvements. For example, we implemented our Heritage and History Month services to celebrate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion throughout the year to cultivate a more inclusive work environment. We are also placing a strong emphasis on talent acquisition, development and management processes to grow a pipeline for future leaders with unique perspectives, experiences, and approaches.
As of December 31, 2021, 68% of associates self-reported as female. In addition, associates reported their race/ethnicity as: White 54%; Hispanic 15%; Black 14%; Asian 12%; and Other 5%.
Total Rewards and Recognition
Our associates are critical to our business, and we design compensation, benefit and recognition programs to provide the appropriate security, support and appreciation needed for our associates to thrive. Included within the package of offerings for our associates are annual bonuses, 401(k) plans, healthcare benefits, paid time off, associate assistance programs, and many other services and programs for our eligible associates.
We also value and encourage associate recognition in order to celebrate outstanding contributions. Our recognition platform is a leadership tool used to celebrate the great achievements of our teams, reward and encourage exemplary behaviors aligned with our core values of Hustle with Humility, Earn Trust and Keep It and Get There Together and create a community experience for our workforce.
This past year we, like many other employers, experienced attraction and retention of talent challenges as the pandemic continued to place stress on the labor market. As a result, we developed many supplemental programs to assist with hiring and also extended additional recognition and pay elements to retain our talent. Some of the actions taken are as follows: referral bonuses, sign-on bonuses, recognition awards and bonuses and pay adjustments in hard to staff areas.
Research and Development
We do not make significant expenditures for research and development.
Licenses, Trademarks and Patents
The Rite Aid name is our most significant trademark and the most important factor in marketing our stores and private brand products. Additionally, we utilize important tradenames for our Elixir operations and the recently acquired Bartell Drugs. We hold licenses to sell beer, wine and liquor, cigarettes and lottery tickets. As part of our strategic alliance with GNC, we have a license to operate GNC “stores-within-Rite Aid-stores.” We also hold licenses to operate our pharmacies and our distribution facilities. Through our 100% owned subsidiary Elixir, we hold a license to conduct Medicare Part D business with CMS.
Collectively, these licenses are material to our operations.
We experience seasonal fluctuations in our results of operations concentrated in the first and fourth fiscal quarters as the result of the concentration of the cough, cold and flu season and the holidays. We tailor certain front-end merchandise to capitalize on holidays and seasons. We increase our inventory levels during our third fiscal quarter in anticipation of the seasonal fluctuations described above, including flu and other immunizations. Our results of operations in the fourth and first fiscal quarters may fluctuate based upon the timing and severity of the cough, cold and flu season, both of which are unpredictable.
Our business is subject to federal, state and local laws, regulations, and administrative practices concerning the provision of and payment for health care services, including, without limitation: federal, state and local licensure and registration requirements concerning the operation of pharmacies and the practice of pharmacy; Medicare, Medicaid and other publicly financed health benefit plan regulations prohibiting kickbacks, beneficiary inducement and the submission of false claims; the ACA; regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), including regulations governing the purchase, sale, storing and dispensing of controlled substances, listed chemicals, and other products, as well as regulations promulgated by state and other federal agencies, including state boards of pharmacy and medicine, concerning automated outbound contacts such as phone calls, text messages and emails and the sale, advertisement and promotion of the products we sell, including nicotine products, drugs, medical devices, and alcoholic beverages. We are also subject to laws governing our relationship with our associates, including health and safety, minimum wage requirements, overtime, sick leave, working conditions, equal employment opportunity and unionizing efforts.
The legal environment affecting our business will continue to become more complex as new legal requirements and rules are introduced and existing laws are modified. Such legal changes could also create areas of uncertainty and require that we make material changes in our business operations and practices. Finally, any real or alleged non-compliance with these laws could materially and adversely impact our business and financial condition.
Legal Developments Relating to COVID-19
As one of the federal legislative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Families First Act”) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), which require insurers and other payors to provide coverage for COVID-19 related medical services, in many cases without member cost-sharing. Pursuant to the government’s implementation of COVID-19 related legislation, the Company has received reimbursement for furnishing COVID-19 related testing, vaccinations, and monoclonal antibody treatment. We received provider relief funds under the CARES Act. We also elected to defer paying our employer share of Social Security tax payments for the period beginning March 27, 2020. We paid the first installment in December 2021 and plan to remit the second installment on or about December 31, 2022.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 15, 2021, authorized the government to spend approximately $1.9 trillion to address continued impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including approximately $415 billion in increased funding to cover the national vaccination program, COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, research and development, and medical supply manufacturing. Our business began offering COVID-19 testing services at various sites in April 2020 to eligible individuals based on CDC guidelines and vaccinations in its stores during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 to eligible individuals based on state and local jurisdiction guidelines. We continue to offer COVID-19 testing services and vaccinations in our stores. With respect to providing COVID-19 testing services, we were not subject to or operated pursuant to waivers of certain obligations required of federal government contractors. However, going forward, our retail pharmacies will likely be subject to additional requirements of companies considered to be federal government contractors and shifting government requirements that may create obstacles for our retail pharmacies’ ability to continue offering testing services. For example, the regulations generally applicable to federal government contractors include those that require contractors to develop and implement affirmative action plans. If we become subject to these requirements, as we expect is likely, the Company will take steps to become compliant with those requirements as quickly as possible.
In addition to the above legislation, we have operated pursuant to a large number of new laws, regulations, and directives from federal, state, county, and city authorities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although COVID 19-related mandates and directives are easing across the country and Congress is taking steps to reduce COVID 19-related funding, new more contagious COVID-19 variants, such as the Omicron variant and newly emerging BA.2 variant may necessitate the reintroduction of travel bans and restrictions, mask mandates, quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, and other stringent regulations. While there is uncertainty regarding the financial and operational impacts of COVID-19 related governmental actions and inactions, such impacts could be material and adverse or could require substantial and permanent changes in the Company’s operations.
Health Care Fraud and Abuse Laws
Because we submit claims and other information to Medicare, Medicaid, and other government-sponsored health care programs, the Company is subject to various health care fraud and abuse laws, including the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”) and Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”), of which many states have similar state counterparts, as well as the federal Physician Self-Referral Law (“Stark Law”), and the beneficiary inducement provision of the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (“CMPL”). Violations of these laws can result in various forms of sanctions, including civil and criminal fines, treble damages, imprisonment, and exclusion from participation in government-sponsored health care programs. FCA lawsuits can be initiated by the government or by individual whistleblowers who pursue qui tam actions on behalf of the government. In order to participate in government health care programs and mitigate our risks under the health care fraud and abuse laws, the Company maintains a compliance program. The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has the authority to monitor our operations and compliance efforts through audits and investigations, and noncompliance can result in the imposition of significant civil and criminal penalties and exclusion from future participation in government programs.
Medicare Laws and Regulations
We participate in the federal government’s Medicare Part D program as a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (“PDP”) through our EI subsidiary, and our PBM business contracts to provide drug benefit administration services for
other Medicare plans. Accordingly, we are subject to federal, state, and local regulations, including rules, guidance, memoranda, and updates published by CMS. This includes the governance set forth by the Medicare Part D program, which makes prescription drug coverage available to eligible Medicare beneficiaries through private insurers. This program regulates the provision of Medicare outpatient prescription drug coverage, including enrollment, formularies, pharmacy networks, marketing, and claims processing. Some Medicare regulations, including those governing pharmacy network, benefit designs, and product pricing, have been and may continue to be modified.
Even though the Social Security Act generally preempts state and local laws that relate to Medicare Part D, (including service providers like PBMs) states are increasing their regulatory authority over the Part D program, especially following a 2021 Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which held that a North Dakota state law could regulate certain aspects of PBMs’ participation in Medicare Part D. The Court recognized that the scope of state regulatory authority extends to imposing certain mandates on Part D PBM relationships with their network pharmacies.
Along with increasing state regulation over the Part D program, CMS could decrease Medicare reimbursement or increase fees imposed upon PDPs. Among other things, PDPs could be required to pay Medical Loss Ratio (“MLR”) rebates for failure to meet minimum MLRs in a given year and repeated failure to meet such minimum annual thresholds can serve as a basis for program termination by CMS. Because our Medicare plan clients are subject to these same regulations, if they are negatively impacted by legal noncompliance or unexpected reimbursement cuts, they could seek to terminate or renegotiate contractual arrangements with our Company.
CMS assesses the quality of PDPs through star ratings, which may impact beneficiary enrollment numbers and sustained negative star ratings can result in plan termination. PDPs that fail or are unable to achieve or maintain star ratings can be terminated from Medicare.
Changes to the Medicare Part D program through the proposed Build Back Better Act could exert negative pressure on retail pharmacy reimbursement and limit the revenue for and the negotiating leverage of our Company’s PBM business. Among various other drug-related provisions, the Build Back Better Act would authorize government price negotiation for certain high cost Medicare drugs and cap Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket spending. The former policy change could reduce our retail pharmacy reimbursement within the Part D program and limit our retail pharmacies’ ability to negotiate favorable reimbursement rates. Moreover, such a pricing change could have a spillover effect in the commercial market, negatively impacting our PBM revenue and retail pharmacy reimbursement in the commercial market. Limitations on Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket spending could result in a shift of Part D costs from out-of-pocket spending and government subsidies to our PBM and other PBMs, resulting in reduced revenues to our PBM business and increased limitations on pharmacy reimbursement for our retail pharmacy segment. There is risk that even if the Build Back Better Act is not enacted, some of its policy provisions could be passed into law separately.
Medicare sequestration cuts reduce federal funding to Medicare Part D plans. On December 10, 2021, President Biden signed the Protecting Medicare & American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act, which extends the suspension of sequestration through March 31, 2022, then reduces the sequestration cuts to 1% from April 1 to June 30, 2022. The full 2% sequestration cuts will again take effect beginning July 1, 2022. The Protecting Medicare & American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act also delays certain other sequestration requirements, called PAYGO, that would have imposed a 4% cut in Medicare payments during 2022, until 2023. To the extent that Congress allows the sequestration cuts to take effect, government funding to Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans will be reduced, which in turn, may decrease revenue to our PBM business.
Medicare Enrollment Growth
In recent years, growth in Part D plan enrollment has been driven largely by growth in enrollment in Medicare Advantage and other Medicare managed plans that included Part D, while enrollment in stand-alone Part D plans has decreased over time and is expected to do so. Any increased drop in enrollment in stand-alone Part D plans or increased enrollment in Medicare Advantage or other Medicare managed care plans that offer Part D benefits may adversely affect our stand-alone Part D plan business.
Pharmacy, Professional Licensure, and Controlled Substance Laws and Regulations
We are subject to a wide range of statutes and regulations at the federal and state levels regarding the practice, licensure, and professional regulation of pharmacy and nursing. These statutes and regulations govern our retail, mail order, and specialty pharmacy operations, as well as the professional conduct of our pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, and physician assistants. Federal and state law also govern the issuance and filling of prescriptions, the dispensing of drug products (including those containing controlled substances) and the sale of schedule listed chemical products. The DEA has issued waivers of certain of its requirements regarding the prescribing, dispensing and distribution of controlled substances during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The end of the public health emergency and rescission of those waivers may have an impact on our customer base and may translate to a reduction in revenue for our pharmacy business.
Governmental agencies with regulatory authority to audit and/or investigate our Company’s operations in this area include, but are not limited to CMS, DEA, DOJ, FDA, state pharmacy boards, state nursing boards, state controlled substance regulators, and the state attorneys general. These agencies are authorized to impose criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions for failure to comply with these laws and regulations. A failure to comply with federal and/or state laws regarding the distribution or dispensing of products in violation of these laws may result in state enforcement actions, including, under an individual state false claims acts, Our pharmacy technicians who administer COVID-19 vaccines may receive immunity under the PREP Act (42 U.S.C. § 247d-6d) with respect to all claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from, the administration or use of FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests; however, such immunity does not extend to willful misconduct that results in serious injury or death.
HIPAA, Privacy, and Security Laws
Our business is also subject to patient and consumer privacy obligations. We are subject to the requirements imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), as modified by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. As a HIPAA covered entity, we are required to implement privacy standards, train our associates on the permitted uses and disclosures of protected health information (“PHI”), report breaches of PHI, provide a notice of privacy practices to our pharmacy customers and permit pharmacy customers to access and amend their records and receive an accounting of disclosures of PHI. We are also subject to regulations governing the receipt of remuneration in exchange for PHI and are subject to audit for HIPAA compliance and failure to satisfy HIPAA standards may result in civil and criminal penalties. Corresponding state health privacy laws also apply to our business to the extent they are more stringent than HIPAA, and require additional obligations that may vary by state. These federal and state laws may change and require additional efforts.
Data Protection and Cybersecurity Laws
Our business is subject to federal and state privacy and data security laws, with respect to our receipt, use and disclosure by us of personally identifiable information (“PII”), which laws require us to provide appropriate privacy and security safeguards for such information. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 invites business entities to share cyber threat indicators with the federal government and directs HHS to create a set of voluntary cybersecurity best practices for health care entities. In addition, we are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which established numerous consumer rights including rights of access and deletion of consumer’s data upon request. The approved California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”) with a January 1, 2023 compliance deadline amends and expands the CCPA. Virginia, Colorado, and Utah have enacted similar laws to provide for consumer privacy rights and protections. Other states are considering similar laws that would give consumers increased protection and control over their personal data. Other states have more limited protections for consumer data. In addition, certain states have data protection laws that provide for the protection of biometric data of individuals. The scope and reach of these biometric laws vary by state and may continue to change. Courts also may adopt the standards for fair information practices promulgated by the FTC that concern consumer notice, choice, security, and access. Likewise, a number of states that have passed data safeguard legislation, most notably New York’s Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (the “SHIELD Act”), that requires any person or business owning or licensing computerized data that includes the private information of a resident of New York to implement and maintain reasonable safeguards to protect the security,
confidentiality, and integrity of the private information. We are also subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard promulgated by the payment card industry in connection with handling credit card data. This standard contains requirements devised to aid entities that process, store or transmit credit card information to maintain a secure environment.
Our business faces a significant compliance burden in seeking to satisfy federal as well as multiple and sometimes inconsistent state laws regarding privacy and data security. We further anticipate the introduction of new state data security laws that could increase our compliance burdens or negatively impact our future business plans and operations. Additionally, many of the public health insurance exchanges (“Public Exchanges”) governed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) impose their own privacy and security standards. Because these standards may impact downstream entities, such as PBMs, they may impose additional compliance burdens for our business.
Consumer Protection Laws
In addition to the protection of personal data, our business is required to comply with other federal and state consumer protection laws. Applicable federal laws include the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Federal Postal Service Act, and the Consumer Product Safety Act. Our retail pharmacies and clinics are also subject to federal and state laws regarding the accessibility of goods and services to people with disabilities. Moreover, our website operations and electronic marketing and customer communications must be employed in compliance with certain consumer protection requirements. Under these laws, regulated entities may be subject to legal action and government investigations in regards to a wide array of customer-facing matters, including product pricing and expiration, disability access, and member loyalty and other financial incentive programs.
Telemarketing and Other Outbound Contacts
The Company also engages in certain telemarketing activities that involve outbound phone calls, texts and emails. Accordingly, we are subject to various federal and state laws, including, but not limited to the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and similar state laws and the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, under which federal and state regulators and private individuals may be authorized to take legal action and seek financial penalties for violations.
The Affordable Care Act
Pursuant to the ACA, the Company’s PBM and PDP businesses, and its health plan clients, have been subjected to greater government oversight and regulation, including in relation to minimum MLR requirements, benefit plan design mandates, and group rating and pricing practices. Parts of the ACA continue to change over time through federal and state regulatory and policy actions and related litigation. Even though, in June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected another legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA, possibilities remain for future litigation challenging the ACA and/or the U.S. Congress to take action to repeal, modify, or expand the ACA in the future. While the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 increased federal subsidies for insurance obtained under the health exchange marketplace, this increase is temporary and it is unclear whether or not Congress will extend the subsidies beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2022. As a result, there is significant uncertainty regarding the ACA, potential future changes to the ACA and its ongoing impacts.
340B Drug Pricing Program
Under the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which is overseen by HHS and the Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”), drug manufacturers are required to sell outpatient prescription drugs to certain safety net covered entities at discount prices. Drugs covered under the 340B Program may be dispensed by the covered entity or through contract pharmacies. In recent years, there has been litigation and enforcement actions regarding the dispensing of program drugs by contract pharmacies and the payment of mandatory 340B Program drug discounts by drug manufacturers. To the extent litigation and/or enforcement actions could restrict the scope of the 340B Program or contract pharmacy arrangements, our Company’s participation in the program could be significantly impacted. Congressional action with respect to the program might also have an impact.
Environmental, Safety, Hazardous Materials Laws
In connection with the ownership and operations of our stores, distribution centers and other sites, we are subject to laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels relating to the protection of the environment, public health, and occupational safety matters, including those governing the management and disposal of hazardous substances and the cleanup of contaminated sites. Failure to comply with such laws or regulations could result in fines or other government-imposed sanctions.
Pharmacy Network, Audit, and Plan Design Legislation
Medicare Part D and many states have implemented “any willing provider” laws and related legal provisions that regulate the ability of drug benefit plans and PBMs to utilize limited pharmacy networks. In addition, an increasing number of states have imposed conditions restricting or modifying the ability of health plans and PBMs to audit pharmacies and recover overpayments. Finally, CMS and the various states may regulate the design and structure of prescription drug formularies with regard to Medicare Part D and ACA-regulated plans. Some of these regulations may limit the ability of PBMs and health plans to impose formulary conditions or restrictions, such as copayment differentials and drug tiering designs, which may be used to manage drug benefits and promote cost-efficient utilization. These laws can significantly affect the ability of PBMs to develop and enforce pharmacy networks, formularies, and other plan design features to manage costs and to effectively conduct audits aimed at recovering overpayments for our health plan clients. Additionally, an increasing number of states have passed legislation limiting the ability of PBMs and health insurers to provide special benefit structures for use with affiliated pharmacies. Such limitations could hinder the ability of our PBM to generate greater savings for insurer clients.
Medicare November 2020 Rebate Rule
Our Medicare PDP and PBM businesses could be impacted by the HHS final rule issued in November 2020, which would eliminate AKS safe harbor protection for rebates offered by drug manufacturers to PDPs and their contracting PBMs in exchange for formulary placement. The final rule would replace the previous safe harbor with two narrower safe harbors, one of which applies to certain point-of-sale rebates and the other to certain fixed service fees paid by manufacturers to PBMs. The final rule has been the subject of industry legal challenge, and in November 2021, pursuant to passage of the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, its implementation date has been delayed until at least January 1, 2026. It is currently unclear whether the final rule will survive legal challenge and be implemented as currently drafted, or whether it will be struck down, modified, or rescinded. Moreover, even if implemented in its current form, it is unclear what the final rule’s resulting impact could be to the Company and its PBM and PDP businesses.
Antitrust and Unfair Competition Laws
The Company falls under the oversight of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and state regulatory authorities that are charged with investigating and enforcing laws relating to unfair and deceptive trade practices and “unfair methods of competition.” Some government investigations and prosecutions have focused on competitive and trade practices employed by PBMs with regard to vertical integration, rebates, drug pricing, and pharmacy reimbursement practices, as well as various other business practices of PBMs and retail pharmacies. The FTC has announced that it is seeking input under its Rule 6(b) authority on the scope of a potential study of various PBM practices that may impact the affordability of and consumer access to prescription drugs, with a view toward issuing a report, but the agency’s probe might also include possible rulemaking or issuance of an administrative complaint against PBMs.
In addition, the federal government and most states have enacted antitrust laws that prohibit certain types of conduct deemed to be anti-competitive. Antitrust enforcement in the healthcare sector is currently a priority of the U.S. Department of Justice and the FTC. Violations of federal or state antitrust and unfair trade practices laws and regulations could result in substantial statutory penalties and other sanctions, as well as potential liability in private civil litigation.
The Company’s business operations include, among other things, the distribution and dispensing of prescription drugs, the sale of over-the-counter medications, including homeopathic drugs, and products, the private labeling of certain drug products and medical devices, and the sale of prepared food, all of which are regulated in whole or in part by the FDA. The FDA is authorized to impose various forms of sanction, including financial penalties, for failure to comply with regulations governing matters within its oversight. FDA has historically exercised enforcement discretion regarding the marketing of certain homeopathic drugs without FDA approval and has indicated a willingness to continue to do so. However, a change in FDA’s enforcement posture could impact the Company’s product portfolio. A failure to comply with the FDA’s laws may result in enforcement or other legal action under state consumer protection laws.
ERISA Regulation and Preemption
Our PBM business provides prescription drug administrative services for various employer and union-sponsored health plans, in accordance with plan designs adopted by the plan sponsors. the Company must comply with the Federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) as well as implementing regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL) comprehensively regulating certain employee benefit plans that contract with us to provide PBM services as well as those plans’ service providers. In some cases, our PBM business may contract with a plan sponsor to assume specific limited ERISA fiduciary responsibilities, such as administration of initial appeals of prescription drug benefit claims. The Company may be subject to direct civil and/or criminal liability under ERISA and DOL regulations for any illegal remuneration provided to or received from plan sponsors.
ERISA generally preempts state and local laws that relate to employee benefit plans, including their service providers like PBMs, but the statute has been a frequent subject of litigation. The states have been aggressive in expanding regulation of PBMs following a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting ERISA preemption and upholding an Arkansas law designed to restrict the ability of PBMs to impose certain financial and operational parameters on network pharmacies. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in November 2021, expanded on that decision, holding that a North Dakota law could legally regulate certain aspects of PBMs’ participation in Medicare Part D, including imposing certain mandates on PBM relationships with their network pharmacies. To the extent that future cases further limit ERISA’s preemptive scope, including expanding state law regulatory authority over Part D PBMs, our PBM business will be increasingly subject to state-imposed legal requirements and corresponding compliance costs.
PBM Laws and Regulations
Many states have implemented or are considering laws and regulations designed to more stringently regulate PBM activities, which may impact the ability of the Company to standardize its products for inter-state customers, thereby raising the cost of doing business. Those laws and regulations include various licensing and registration requirements for PBMs. Those regulations include imposing certain restrictions on pharmacy audits, transparency mandates, such as disclosure of data to third parties, drug utilization management practices, and restrictions on PBM pharmacy network design and dispensing channels. Some states have also passed legislation to create a reimbursement benchmark mandate, plus a set dispensing fee, for in-network pharmacies.
An increasing number of states are regulating Maximum Allowable Cost reimbursement (“MAC”), which may be employed by PBMs to determine the reimbursement for dispensed generic pharmaceuticals and encourage plans to purchase generics at the lowest possible costs. State MAC laws are frequently designed to regulate MAC pricing methodologies, price transparency, the types of drugs subject to MAC pricing, and pricing appeals by pharmacies. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a broad opinion allowing states greater latitude to enact and enforce MAC laws. This decision will likely result in restrictions on the ability of PBMs to impose MAC pricing parameters to maximize cost efficiency, as well as possibly leading to more comprehensive regulation of MAC pricing by the states. As a result, our PBM may be subject to regulatory limitations on its ability to set favorable drug reimbursement rates.
In addition, various quasi-regulatory organizations and credentialing organizations have issued (or may propose) model standards or other requirements concerning PBMs, specialty pharmacies, or health plans. While these standards or requirements may not have the force of law, the resulting pressure to comply, in whole or in part, may be a
significant cost for our PBM. Examples include the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”), the National Committee for Quality Assurance (“NCQA”), and the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (“URAC”), among others. Cumulatively, these efforts could restrict PBMs’ leeway to manage costs and lead to greater inconsistency among state standards and laws, thereby increasing PBM compliance burdens.
PBMs are also subject to various federal and state fraud, waste, and abuse laws, including the FCA, AKS, and state false claims act and anti-kickback laws. Failure to comply with any of these laws could invite financial penalties and/or civil or criminal sanctions.
Government Agreements and Mandates
The Company may, from time to time, be subject to certain agreements or mandates imposed by federal, state, and local authorities in the form of consent orders, corporate integrity agreements, corrective action plans, and settlements. Currently, our business is subject to consent orders that pertain to information security, tobacco, pricing and product expiration dates.
Among other actions, the Company maintains a comprehensive security program designed to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of personal information collected from or about our consumers. Compliance with these consent orders requires regular assessments and reports and our compliance activities may occasionally be subject to audit or inspection. Any failure to abide by the terms of these consent orders could result in civil, criminal, or administrative remedies or penalties.
Consumer Financial Laws
The Company offers various financial products and services at certain of our retail store locations that include money (wire) transfer services, bill payment, money orders, check cashing, prepaid gift cards, and digital payment platforms. Accordingly, our business is subject to certain international, federal, and state anti-money laundering and consumer financial laws. Violations of these laws and regulations can result in civil and criminal penalties as well as reputational harm.
Corporate Governance and Internet Address
We recognize that good corporate governance is an important means of protecting the interests of our stockholders, associates, customers and the community. We have closely monitored and implemented relevant legislative and regulatory corporate governance reforms, including provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”), the rules of the SEC interpreting and implementing Sarbanes-Oxley and the corporate governance listing standards of the NYSE.
Our corporate governance information and materials, including our Certificate of Incorporation, Bylaws, Corporate Governance Guidelines, the charters of our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee, our Code of Ethics for the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Financial Officers, our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and our Related Person Transaction Policy are posted on the corporate governance section of our website at www.riteaid.com and are available in print upon request to Rite Aid Corporation, 30 Hunter Lane, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011, Attention: Corporate Secretary. Our Board of Directors will regularly review corporate governance developments and modify these materials and practices as warranted.
Our website also provides information on how to contact us and other items of interest to investors. We make available on our website, free of charge, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, Extensible Business Reporting Language (“XBRL”) data files of our annual report and quarterly reports, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we file these reports with, or furnish them to, the SEC. We do not intend for the information contained on our website to be part of this annual report on Form 10-K.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Factors Affecting our Future Prospects
Set forth below is a description of certain risk factors which we believe may be relevant to an understanding of us and our business. Security holders are cautioned that these and other factors may affect future performance and cause actual results to differ from those which may be anticipated. Additionally, the continuing impact of COVID-19 could further exacerbate many of the risk described below or described elsewhere herein. See the section entitled “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”
The following is a summary of the principal risks we face:
Risks Related to our Financial Condition
|●||Widespread health developments, including the global COVID-19 pandemic and emerging COVID-19 variants, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.|
|●||We are highly leveraged. Our substantial indebtedness could limit cash flow available for our operations and could adversely affect our ability to service debt or obtain additional financing if necessary.|
|●||Borrowings under our senior secured credit facilities are based upon variable rates of interest, which could result in higher expense (including as a result of recent actions by the Federal Reserve Bank) as a result of the cessation of LIBOR.|
|●||The covenants in the instruments that govern our current indebtedness may limit our operating and financial flexibility.|
Risks Related to our Operations
|●||We need to improve our operations in order to improve our financial condition, but our operations will not improve if we cannot effectively implement our business strategy or if our strategy is negatively affected by worsening economic conditions.|
|●||We purchase all of our brand and generic drugs from a single wholesaler. A disruption in this relationship may have a negative effect on us.|
|●||Inflation could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.|
|●||Our ability to attract and motivate talented employees is uncertain and poses financial risks.|
|●||Failure or significant disruption to our information technology systems/infrastructure or a cyber-security breach could adversely affect our operations.|
|●||We are subject to payment-related risks that could increase our operating costs, expose us to fraud or theft, subject us to potential liability and potentially disrupt our business.|
|●||Any failure to protect the security of personal information about our customers and associates, could result in significant business liability and reputational harm.|
|●||Any inability to keep existing store locations or open new locations in desirable places may have a negative impact on our operations.|
|●||A variety of business continuity hazards and risks could materially and adversely affect our and our vendors’ business operations and our quarterly results may fluctuate significantly.|
Risks Related to the Retail Pharmacy and PBM Industries in which we Operate
|●||The markets in which we operate are very competitive and further increases in competition could adversely affect us.|
|●||New and emerging payment models for health care services reimbursement may hinder our retail pharmacies and PBMs’ ability to compete negatively impacting our revenue.|
|●||A change in our pharmacy and payor mix could adversely affect our profit margins.|
|●||A sudden and material decrease in the number of Medicaid enrollees due to the “Medicaid Cliff” could have a sudden destabilizing impact on retail pharmacy revenue.|
|●||Consolidation in the healthcare industry could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.|
|●||There are risks related to the availability, pricing, and safety profiles of the pharmacy drugs and products we purchase and sell.|
|●||Changes in third party reimbursement levels for prescription drugs and changes in industry pricing benchmarks could reduce our margins and have a material adverse effect on our business.|
|●||A substantial portion of our pharmacy revenue is currently generated from a limited number of third party payors, and, if there is a loss of, or significant change to prescription drug reimbursement rates by, a major third party payor, our revenue will decrease and our business and prospects could be adversely impacted.|
|●||A substantial portion of our Pharmacy Services segment revenue is currently generated from a limited number of customers, and, if there is a loss of a major customer, our revenue will decrease and our business and prospects could be adversely impacted.|
|●||We are exposed to risks related to litigation and other legal proceedings.|
|●||We are subject to governmental regulations, procedures and requirements; our noncompliance or a significant legislative, regulatory, or public policy change could adversely affect our business, the results of our operations or our financial condition.|
|●||Government audits, investigations, and reviews could lead to liability and operational changes.|
|●||If our compliance or other systems and processes fail or are deemed inadequate, we may become subject to regulatory actions and/or litigation.|
|●||Certain risks are inherent in providing pharmacy services; our insurance may not be adequate to cover any claims against us.|
|●||We may be subject to significant liability should the consumption of any of our products cause injury, illness or death.|
|●||Risks of declining gross margins in the PBM industry could adversely impact our profitability.|
|●||The possibility of PBM client loss and/or the failure to win new PBM business could impact our ability to secure new business.|
|●||Regulatory or business changes relating to our participation in Medicare Part D, the medical loss ratio for our Medicare Part D eligible members, or our failure to otherwise execute on our strategies related to Medicare Part D, may adversely impact our business and our financial results.|
|●||Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer preferences and spending patterns, an inability to expand the products being purchased by our clients and customers, or the failure or inability to obtain or offer particular categories of products could negatively affect our relationship with our clients and customers and the demand for our products and services.|
|●||The impact of extreme events, natural disasters, and climate change could create unpredictability for our business operations.|
|●||The seasonal nature of our business causes fluctuations in operations.|
|●||Changes in laws governing labor, employers, and union organizing may increase our labor costs.|
Risks Related to our Financial Condition
Widespread health developments, including the global COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging COVID-19 variants, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We continue to closely monitor the events and impacts relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted and could further adversely impact, among other things, our workforce, operations, stores, consumer behavior, and supply chain, and the operations of our customers, suppliers and business partners. The local, national and international responses to the pandemic continue to evolve, and certain measures have contributed to changes in customer spending, supply chain restrictions and inflation.
The continuing nature and scope of COVID-19’s impacts to our business and operations will depend on a series of evolving factors and developments that are difficult to assess, predict, or control, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
|●||the severity and duration of the pandemic, including additional outbreaks or spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases, future mutations or related variants of the virus, and the efficacy and availability of vaccines;|
|●||the extent and duration of the effect on consumer confidence, economic well-being, spending, and drug utilization, deferred medical care, the rate of elective procedures and even recommended screening tests, as well as customer demand, consumer behavior, buying patterns and shopping behaviors, including spend on discretionary categories, which often include higher margin products, and increased utilization of online sales channels, both during and after the pandemic;|
|●||the duration, degree, and impact of governmental, business, or other measures implemented in response to the pandemic;|
|●||the impacts on our distribution channels and supply chain;|
|●||volatility or disruptions in the credit and financial markets;|
|●||increased cyber security risks, including as a result of our associates, and employees of our business partners, vendors, suppliers and other third parties with which we do business, working remotely;|
|●||additional increased costs associated with operating during the pandemic;|
|●||evolving macroeconomic factors, including general economic uncertainty, product costs, unemployment rates, and recessionary and inflationary pressures;|
|●||the impact of the pandemic on economic activity and the pace and extent of recovery when the pandemic subsides, which may vary materially over time and among the different regions and markets we serve;|
|●||the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, trade relations, consumer behavior, our industry, and our business operations; and|
|●||relaxation or lifting of government mandates and restrictions related to COVID-19, such as the mask mandate.|
The above factors and risks, among others, are difficult to predict and could result in material adverse impacts to our business, operations, cash flows, and financial condition. In addition, it is difficult to predict the potentially adverse impacts that COVID-19 could continue to have on our customers, suppliers, vendors, and other business partners, which, in turn could materially and adversely impact our business. Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 could further exacerbate the impact of the other risk factors contained in this and the other reports the Company files with the SEC.
We are highly leveraged. Our substantial indebtedness could limit cash flow available for our operations and could adversely affect our ability to service debt or obtain additional financing if necessary.
We had, as of February 26, 2022, approximately $2.8 billion of outstanding indebtedness and stockholders’ equity of $99 million. We also had additional borrowing capacity under our $2.8 billion senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (the “Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility” or “revolver”) of $1,945.6 million, net of outstanding letters of credit of approximately $128.0 million.
Our high level of indebtedness will continue to restrict our operations. Among other things, our indebtedness will:
|●||limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in the markets in which we compete;|
|●||place us at a competitive disadvantage relative to our competitors with less indebtedness;|
|●||limit our ability to reinvest in our business;|
|●||render us more vulnerable to general adverse economic, regulatory and industry conditions; and|
|●||require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow to service our debt.|
Our ability to meet our cash requirements, including our debt service obligations, is dependent upon our ability to maintain our operating performance, which will be subject to general economic and competitive conditions and to financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. We cannot provide assurance that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations to fund our cash requirements and debt service obligations.
We believe we have adequate sources of liquidity to meet our anticipated requirements for working capital, debt service and capital expenditures through fiscal 2023 and have no significant debt maturities prior to July 2025. However, if our operating results, cash flow or capital resources prove inadequate, or if interest rates rise significantly, we could face liquidity constraints. Additionally, we improved our leverage and liquidity position this past year by selling our rights in our calendar 2021 Medicare Part D final reconciliation payment. There can be no assurance that we will enter into a similar transaction for our calendar 2022 payment, or that if we do so, that the terms of such transaction will differ, and such differences could be material. If we are unable to service our debt or experience a significant reduction in our
liquidity, we could be forced to reduce or delay planned capital expenditures and other initiatives, sell assets, restructure or refinance our debt or seek additional equity capital, or need to change certain elements of our strategy, and we may be unable to take any of these actions on satisfactory terms or in a timely manner. Any of these actions may not be sufficient to allow us to service our debt obligations or may have an adverse impact on our business. Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 on the financial markets and the economy may make it more difficult to consummate any such transaction, or result in terms that are less favorable to us. Our existing debt agreements limit our ability to take certain of these actions. Our failure to generate sufficient operating cash flow to pay our debts or refinance our indebtedness could have a material adverse effect on us.
Borrowings under our senior secured credit facilities are based upon variable rates of interest, which could result in higher expense as a result of the cessation of LIBOR.
Borrowings under our senior secured credit agreement, dated as of December 20, 2018 (as amended by the First Amendment to Credit Agreement, dated as of January 6, 2020, and as further amended by the Second Amendment to Credit Agreement, dated as of August 20, 2021, the “Credit Agreement”), consisting of a $2,800.0 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility” or “revolver”) and a $350.0 million “first-in, last out” senior secured term loan facility (“Senior Secured Term Loan”) (collectively, the “Existing Facilities”) bear interest at a rate that varies depending on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). If LIBOR rises (including as a result of recent actions by the Federal Reserve Bank), the interest rates on borrowings under our Existing Facilities will increase. Therefore an increase in LIBOR, would increase our interest payment obligations under those borrowings and have a negative effect on our cash flow and financial condition.
The ICE Benchmark Administration, the administrator for LIBOR, ceased the publication of one-week and two-month USD LIBOR after December 2021 and intends to cease publishing all remaining USD LIBOR tenors in mid-2023. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a group of market participants convened by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has recommended the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), a rate calculated based on repurchase agreements backed by treasury securities, as its recommended alternative benchmark rate to replace USD LIBOR. At this time, it is not known whether or when SOFR or other alternative reference rates will attain market traction as replacements for LIBOR. Any new benchmark rate will likely not replicate LIBOR exactly, which could impact our contracts that terminate after mid-2023. There is uncertainty about how applicable law and the courts will address the replacement of LIBOR with alternative rates on variable rate retail loan contracts. As a result of the transition away from LIBOR, interest rates on our current or future indebtedness may be adversely affected or we may need to renegotiate the terms of our Existing Facilities to replace LIBOR with the new standard benchmark rate that is established, if any, or to otherwise agree with the trustees or agents on a new means of calculating interest. In addition, changes to benchmark rates may have an uncertain impact on our cost of funds and our access to the capital markets, which could impact our results of operations and cash flows. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes may also adversely affect the trading market for our securities.
The covenants in the instruments that govern our current indebtedness may limit our operating and financial flexibility.
The covenants in the instruments that govern our current indebtedness limit our ability to:
|●||incur debt and liens;|
|●||make redemptions and repurchases of capital stock;|
|●||make loans and investments;|
|●||prepay, redeem or repurchase debt;|
|●||engage in acquisitions, consolidations, asset dispositions, sale-leaseback transactions and affiliate transactions;|
|●||change our business;|
|●||amend some of our debt and other material agreements;|
|●||issue and sell capital stock of subsidiaries;|
|●||restrict distributions from subsidiaries; and|
|●||grant negative pledges to other creditors.|
The Credit Agreement has a financial covenant that requires us to maintain a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio of 1.00 to 1.00 (i) on any date on which availability under the revolver is less than $200.0 million or (ii) on the third consecutive business day on which availability under the revolver is less than $250.0 million, and, in each case, ending on and excluding the first day thereafter, if any, which is the 30th consecutive calendar day on which availability under the revolver is equal to or greater than $250 million. As of February 26, 2022, our fixed charge coverage ratio was greater than 1.00 to 1.00 and we were in compliance with the Credit Agreement’s financial covenant. The Credit Agreement also limits our ability to maintain cash, without repaying a portion of our outstanding borrowings under the revolver, above a specified amount. For additional details, see the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Continuing Operations—Future Liquidity”.
Risks Related to our Operations
We need to improve our operations in order to improve our financial condition, but our operations will not improve if we cannot effectively implement our business strategy or if our strategy is negatively affected by worsening economic conditions.
We have not achieved the sales productivity level of our major competitors. Improving our retail sales, prescription volumes and profitability at our PBM are essential to enable us to cover our fixed staffing costs and to improve profitability and operating cash flow. If we are not successful in implementing our strategies, including our efforts to increase sales and further reduce costs, or if our strategies are not effective, we may not be able to improve our operations. The prolonged impact of COVID-19 has made and may continue to make it more difficult to implement our strategies and/or may delay such implementation. Furthermore, any adverse change or weakness in general economic conditions or major industries can adversely affect drug benefit plans and reduce our pharmacy sales. Adverse changes in general economic conditions, including those resulting from COVID-19, such as supply chain disruptions, high energy costs, increasing production costs, and record inflation, has affected and could continue to affect consumer buying practices. These factors may consequently reduce our sales of front-end products, and cause a decrease in our profitability. Failure to improve operations or weakness in major industries or general economic conditions would adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows and our ability to make principal or interest payments on our debt.
We purchase all of our brand and generic drugs from a single wholesaler. A disruption in this relationship may have a negative effect on us.
We purchase all of our brand drugs and, with limited exceptions, all of our generic drugs from a single wholesaler, McKesson. Because McKesson acts as a wholesaler for drugs purchased from manufacturers worldwide, any disruption in the supply of a given drug, including disruptions related to COVID-19 or to extreme weather or natural disasters, supply shortages of key ingredients, or regulatory actions by domestic or foreign governmental agencies, or specific actions taken by drug manufacturers, could adversely impact McKesson’s ability to fulfill our demands, which could adversely affect us. Pharmacy sales represented approximately 70.0% of our total drugstore sales during fiscal 2022. While we believe that alternative sources of supply for most generic and brand name pharmaceuticals are readily available, a significant disruption in our relationship with McKesson could result in disruptions to our business until we execute a replacement wholesaler agreement or develop and implement self-distribution processes. We believe we could
obtain qualified alternative sources, including through self-distribution, for substantially all of the prescription drugs we sell on an acceptable basis, and accordingly that the impact of any disruption would be temporary, although the impact of COVID-19 could make it more challenging to find a suitable replacement on our then desired timeline. On February 28, 2019, we and McKesson entered into a contract that will continue our pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution partnership for an additional ten years. Under the terms, McKesson will continue providing us with sourcing and direct-to-store delivery for brand and generic pharmaceutical products through March 2029.
Inflation could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Inflation in the United States began to rise significantly in the second half of the calendar year of 2021. This is primarily believed to be the result of the economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the global supply chain disruptions, strong economic recovery and associated widespread demand for goods, and government stimulus packages, among other factors. For instance, global supply chain disruptions have resulted in shortages in materials and services. Such shortages have resulted in inflationary cost increases for labor, materials, and services, and could continue to cause costs to increase as well as scarcity of certain products. We are experiencing inflationary pressures in certain areas of our business, including with respect to employee wages and the cost of prescription drugs, although, to date, we have been able to slightly offset such pressures through price increases and other measures. We cannot, however, predict any future trends in the rate of inflation or associated increases in our operating costs and how that may impact our business. To the extent we are unable to recover higher operating costs resulting from inflation or otherwise mitigate the impact of such costs on our business, our revenues and gross margins could decrease, and our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our ability to attract and motivate talented employees is uncertain and poses financial risks.
We regularly compete with similar companies for talented employees and our success depends in part on attracting, retaining, and/or replacing key personnel with equally qualified employees. The unusually difficult challenge to find and retain talented employees, including, but not limited to, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, in recent months and years continues due to macroeconomic conditions, societal issues, COVID-19 risks, and other factors. In addition, job market dynamics have been impacted by the “great resignation,” with a significant number of people leaving the workforce, and future challenges related to workplace practices could lead to attrition and difficulty attracting high-quality employees. These factors may require our retail pharmacies to increase compensation to both hire and retain employees. We may also lose employees due to illness or other sudden occurrences, which makes succession planning difficult.
Loss and/or transition of Company personnel, including senior executives, creates uncertainty as there is no guarantee that new personnel or leadership will adequately perform or smoothly transition into their new roles. Moreover, our investors, business partners, and employees prefer stability and any high level of employee turnover could undermine stakeholder support. Ultimately, the unpredictability regarding employee continuity and potential disruption stemming from employee losses pose a threat to our overall financial condition and operations.
Failure or significant disruption to our information technology systems/infrastructure or a cyber-security breach could adversely affect our operations.
Technology and computer systems are critical to many aspects of our pharmacy business, including, but not limited to, the drug supply chain, our dispensing of drugs, and our reimbursement. For instance, we rely extensively on computer systems used by Rite Aid, Elixir, Bartell Drugs, and Health Dialog, to manage our ordering, pricing, point-of-sale, inventory replenishment and other processes. Our computer systems are at risk for failures, security breaches, and natural disasters, and they have been subject to attack by perpetrators of random or targeted malicious technology-related events, such as cyberattacks, computer viruses, worms, bot attacks or other destructive or disruptive software and attempts to misappropriate customer information, including credit card information. These sorts of attacks could subject our systems to damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, cyber security breaches, vandalism, coordinated cyber security attacks, severe weather conditions, catastrophic events and human error, and our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. We have a robust Information Security program to protect and defend against cyber-attacks. Since security is a process and not a one-time event, we are constantly improving our program through automation, proactive monitoring and threat hunting programs. We are adding new toolsets, and bringing in new talent specialized in key competencies to build Information Security as
part of our ‘DNA’. Collectively, we are building a security aware culture across the organization by providing role-based security training, developing security champions across Technology and business areas, and partnering with industry experts. Our information security program is designed to protect confidential information against data security breaches through a multi-layered approach to address information security threats and vulnerabilities, including ones from a cyber-security standpoint. However, a compromise of our information security controls or of those businesses with whom we interact, which results in confidential information being accessed, obtained, damaged or used by unauthorized or improper persons, could harm our reputation and expose us to regulatory actions and claims from customers and clients, financial institutions, payment card associations and other persons, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial position and results of operations. Moreover, a data security breach could require that we expend significant resources related to our information systems and infrastructure, and could distract management and other key personnel from performing their primary operational duties. We could also be adversely impacted by any significant disruptions in, or security breaches of, the systems and technology of third party suppliers or processors we interact with, including key payors and vendors with whom we share information including PHI. If our systems are damaged, fail to function properly or otherwise become unavailable, we may incur substantial costs to repair or replace them, and may experience loss of critical data and interruptions or delays in our ability to perform critical functions, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Any compromise or breach of our data security, whether external or internal, or misuse of customer, associate, supplier or our data could also result in a violation of applicable privacy, information security, and other laws, significant legal and financial exposure, fines or lawsuits, damage to our reputation, loss or misuse of the information and a loss of confidence in our security measures, which could harm our business. Although we maintain cyber security insurance, we cannot assure you that the coverage limits under our insurance program will be adequate to protect us against future claims.
To effectively compete with our competitors and continue business partner relations, we must and are constantly investing in and updating our technology and computer systems. In addition, as the regulatory environment related to information security, data collection and use, and privacy becomes increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to our business, compliance with those requirements could also result in additional costs. We always ensure that our security operations are current and that our technology can properly interface with our business partners. There are risks that our technology investments will not be successful, will not provide a return on investment, and/or may fail or never be deployed. Oftentimes, we are implementing multiple updates or technology changes at the same time. We are currently in the process of changing our omni-channel distribution and there can be no assurance that we will be able to implement this technology on its intended timeline or that it will achieve its intended benefits.
We are subject to payment-related risks that could increase our operating costs, expose us to fraud or theft, subject us to potential liability and potentially disrupt our business.
We accept payments using a variety of methods, including cash, checks, credit and debit cards, gift cards and mobile payment technology, and we may accept new forms of payment over time. Acceptance of these payment options subjects us to rules, regulations, contractual obligations and compliance requirements including payment network rules and operating guidelines, data security standards and certification requirements, and rules governing electronic funds transfers. These requirements may change over time or be reinterpreted, making compliance more difficult or costly. For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs. We rely on third parties to provide payment processing services, including the processing of credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of electronic payment. If these companies become unable to provide these services to us, or if their systems are compromised, it could potentially disrupt our business. The payment methods that we offer also subject us to potential fraud and theft by criminals, who are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, seeking to obtain unauthorized access to or exploit weaknesses that may exist in the payment systems. If we fail to comply with applicable rules or requirements for the payment methods we accept, or if payment-related data is compromised due to a breach or misuse of data, we may be liable for costs incurred by payment card issuing banks and other third parties or subject to fines and higher transaction fees, or our ability to accept or facilitate certain types of payments may be impaired. In addition, our customers could lose confidence in certain payment types, which may result in a shift to other payment types or potential changes to our payment systems that may result in higher costs. As a result, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
Any failure to protect the security of personal information about our customers and associates, could result in significant business liability and reputational harm.
In the ordinary course of business, we collect and store certain personal information that our customers provide to purchase products or services, enroll in promotional programs, register on our web site, or otherwise communicate and interact with us, including in connection with our administration of COVID-19 vaccines. We may collect, maintain, and store information about our associates in the normal course of business and contract with third party business associates and vendors to accomplish these tasks. We may share information about such persons with vendors that assist with certain aspects of our business. Despite instituted safeguards for the protection of such information, security could be compromised and confidential customer or business information misappropriated, for which we have paid related penalties in the past. Data breaches or violations of data protection laws may result in liability for the Company, even if caused, in whole or in part, by a business associate, vendor, or other third party. The unlawful handling or disclosure of sensitive personal information could also pose a serious risk to our customers’ trust in the Company, including the unlawful handling or disclosure due to security breaches of the systems and technology of third party suppliers or processors that we interact with, including key payors and vendors with whom we share information including PHI, PII and personal credit card information (“PCI”). We are constantly working to enhance our defenses against Ransomware attacks, but there is always a risk of controls being defeated which could result in loss of customer or business information that could disrupt our operations, damage our reputation, and expose us to claims from customers, financial institutions, payment card associations and other persons, or result in governmental investigation and enforcement, sanctions, fines, and/or penalties, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, compliance with more rigorous privacy and information security laws and standards may result in significant expense due to increased investment in technology and the development of new operational processes. Our brand, reputation, and customer loyalty may be negatively impacted in the event of any personal information security failures. The occurrence or scope of any future data security failures are unpredictable, and it may prove difficult or impossible to fully mitigate or remediate their negative consequences. If we fail to comply or are alleged to have failed to comply with applicable data protection and privacy laws and regulations, we could be subject to government enforcement actions or private lawsuits.
Any inability to keep existing store locations or open new locations in desirable places may have a negative impact on our operations.
We compete with other retailers and businesses to identify and develop desirable locations for retail store operations. Our ability to find suitable locations and our store construction, renovation, and operating costs can vary based on the specific state and locality and applicable zoning, environmental, and real estate laws. Additionally, construction delays, adverse modifications in lease terms, and changes in community demographics can negatively impact our store operations and revenues, and in some instances may cause us to close or relocate stores. The recent increase in costs, including as a result of inflation, associated with hiring and maintaining our retail pharmacy workforce may also negatively impact the profitability of some of our store locations to the extent that we may be forced to close some locations.
A variety of business continuity hazards and risks could materially and adversely affect our and our vendors’ business operations and our quarterly results may fluctuate significantly.
A variety of potential hazards, risks, and factors could adversely impact our and our vendors’ operations and performance, including, but not limited to, health epidemics or pandemics like COVID-19, supply chain disruptions and delays, energy shortages and inflationary energy costs, extreme weather, whether as a result of climate change or otherwise, natural disasters, acts of war, terrorism or violence, extended protests or periods of civil unrest, labor disputes, quality control issues, infrastructure failures, trade sanctions, inflation, changing market conditions, the introduction of new prescriptions drugs, the seasonal nature of our business, and changes in payor reimbursement rates and terms. These and other factors could lead to disruptions in and interfere with domestic and global supply chains, revenue flows, reimbursements, and our ability to source products and find qualified vendors to access appropriate products in a timely and efficient manner. We could also be liable for any resulting personal injury or property damage arising from these risks to the extent our existing insurance coverage is insufficient or unavailable to cover associated losses. Due to these
often unavoidable risks, some of which are beyond our management and control, our businesses, operating results, cash flows, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Historically, our operating results have varied on a quarterly basis, and one or more of the above or other factors or risks could cause our results to fluctuate significantly. Accordingly, quarter-to-quarter comparisons of our operating results are not necessarily meaningful and a single quarter’s results may not provide reliable insight into our anticipated future performance.
Risks Related to the Retail Pharmacy and PBM Industries in which we Operate
The markets in which we operate are very competitive and further increases in competition could adversely affect us.
In the retail pharmacy business, we face intense competition with local, regional and national companies, including other drugstore chains, independently owned drugstores, supermarkets, mass merchandisers, dollar stores and internet pharmacies. Many of our competitors are larger, better capitalized, have access to greater financial and other resources, are diversified through other industries and have an international presence. Additionally, some of our competitors are vertically integrated, allowing them to leverage healthcare, health plan, and PBM operations together with their retail pharmacy footprint. Increasingly, these competitors are expanding in our existing markets. Greater competition exerts pressure on our pricing and promotional models and may force us to modify or reduce our prices. The ability of our stores to achieve profitability depends on their ability to achieve a critical mass of loyal, repeat customers.
Competition from grocers and on-line retailers has significantly increased during the past few years. Some of our competitors have or may merge with or acquire pharmacies, pharmaceutical services companies, PBMs, health insurance companies, specialty or mail order facilities and/or enter into strategic partnership alliances with Group Purchasing Organizations or wholesalers, which may further increase competition. We may not be able to effectively compete against them because our existing or potential competitors have financial and other resources that are superior to ours.
In the PBM business, we also face competition from other PBMs, including large, national PBMs, PBMs owned by national health plans and smaller standalone PBMs. Certain of these competitors entered into the PBM industry before us, and there is no assurance that we will successfully compete with entities with more established PBM businesses and scale. Further, we may be at a competitive disadvantage because we are more highly leveraged than our competitors.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to effectively compete in our markets or increase our sales volume in response to further increased competition, or that any of our competitors are not in a better position to absorb the continuing impacts of COVID-19 or adjust to market changes resulting from COVID-19.
Our market dynamics are subject to fluctuation due to consumer behavior and technology changes, among other factors. We must adjust our operations and business model to meet these evolving market demands. If we fail to make proper adjustments to meet changing market conditions, we may lose customers, which would have a negative impact on our revenue.
Increasingly, a greater volume or proportion of dispensed prescriptions involve specialty drugs, which are often furnished through limited distribution channels. Because these channels are restricted, there is substantial competition among out competitors to be included in these networks. Furthermore, participation in these networks is challenging, as the higher costs and complexities of specialty drugs may be difficult to manage. If we are unable to effectively compete for specialty drug business and access this market, we face potential harm to our business operations and adverse impacts to our financial condition.
New and emerging payment models for health care services reimbursement may hinder our retail pharmacies and PBMs’ ability to compete negatively impacting our revenue.
Government and commercial payors are increasingly exploring alternatives to fee-for-service payment models. Such alternatives include risk sharing, value-based payment and bundled payment systems for health care services. Our retail pharmacies do not operate as part of integrated health care delivery models and, unlike some of our competitors, we have not invested in health care delivery models which integrate different health care services, such as pharmacy and primary care services. Additionally, our retail pharmacies are not active participants in any risk assumption payment models. Moreover, it is operationally difficult to apply value-based payment to prescription drug benefit services. To the extent that payors increasingly embrace these new payment delivery models and systems and our retail competitors are able to adapt to such changes, our retail pharmacies risk being excluded from such networks and the corresponding loss of reimbursement. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government waivers have allowed pharmacists to embrace an expanded scope of services, the end of the pandemic could result in a rollback of those waivers and our pharmacists may no longer be authorized to offer such services as part of the various novel delivery and payment models.
With regard to our PBM business, given the major challenges involved in creating complex delivery networks to implement integrated delivery of health care services and/or nontraditional payment systems, our PBM business risks an inability to develop robust pharmacy networks capable of providing the level and scope of services necessary to sustain such models. Our PBM business may face a competitive disadvantage. Furthermore, our competitors with strong regional networks may threaten our ability to compete in certain regions. Ultimately, if we cannot develop thriving networks as part of new and emerging payment and delivery models our bottom line will suffer.
A change in our pharmacy and payor mix could adversely affect our profit margins.
Our Retail Pharmacy segment is subject to changes in pharmacy and payor mix, including shifts in pharmacy prescription volume toward programs offering less favorable reimbursement terms, which could adversely affect the results of our operations. For instance, we anticipate that a growing number of prescription drug sales will involve government subsidized drug benefit programs, 90-day fill programs, and specialty drug sales, under which our business may receive lower margins. As our government-funded businesses grow, our exposure to changes in law and policy under those programs will increase. Also, the government could reduce funding for health care or other programs or cancel, decline to renew, or modify our contracts, which could adversely impact our business, operating results, and cash flows. Moreover, many Medicare Part D plans and commercial payors are adopting preferred pharmacy networks, in which participating pharmacies must accept lower reimbursement in exchange for access to the payors’ patient population. We could incur negative financial impacts should the terms and conditions of such preferred networks become less favorable or if we are unable to offset lower reimbursement with additional prescription volume, other business, or improved efficiencies. We could also be negatively impacted by changes in the relative distribution of drugs dispensed at our pharmacies between brands and generics or if we experience an increase in the amounts we pay to procure pharmaceutical products.
A sudden and material decrease in the number of Medicaid enrollees due to the “Medicaid Cliff” could have a sudden destabilizing impact on retail pharmacy revenue.
During the COVID-19 related federal public health emergency, the federal government provided supplemental Medicaid funding to states as long as states agreed to provide for continuous Medicaid coverage for current enrollees. When the public health emergency ends, states will once again be required to remove Medicaid ineligible individuals from the Medicaid rolls. The large number of individuals who could lose coverage as a result could have a sudden and material negative impact on the Company’s retail pharmacy revenue received from Medicaid and Medicaid MCOs.
Consolidation in the healthcare industry could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Many organizations in the healthcare industry, including PBMs and Part D plans, have consolidated to create larger healthcare enterprises with greater market power, which has contributed to continued pricing pressures and has weakened our retail pharmacies’ ability to obtain advantageous pharmacy network contracting terms. The effects of organizational consolidation are exacerbated by the growing market share of specialty pharmacies, compared to retail pharmacies, for limited-distribution high cost therapies for rare diseases. Within the Part D plan market, approximately
one-third of our PBM business is Part D business and it will be more difficult for our PBM to compete in and obtain competitive reimbursement terms in a consolidated Part D plan marketplace.
If this consolidation trend continues, it could give the resulting enterprises even greater bargaining power, which may lead to further pressure on the prices for our products and services and/or reduce our access to customers. If these pressures result in reductions in our prices and/or reduce our access to customers, our business will become less profitable unless we are able to achieve corresponding reductions in costs or develop profitable new revenue streams. We expect that market demand, government regulation, third-party reimbursement policies, government contracting requirements, and societal pressures will continue to cause the healthcare industry to evolve, potentially resulting in further business consolidations and alliances among the industry participants we engage with, which may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, our new strategy also includes selective acquisition opportunities and we cannot assure you that we will be able to consummate any such transactions on commercially reasonable terms, if at all.
There are risks related to the availability, pricing, and safety profiles of the pharmacy drugs and products we purchase and sell.
The continued conversion of various prescription drugs, including potential conversions of a number of popular medications, to over-the-counter medications may reduce our pharmacy sales and customers may seek to purchase such medications at non-pharmacy stores. Also, if the rate at which new prescription drugs become available slows or if new prescription drugs that are introduced into the market fail to achieve popularity, our pharmacy sales may be adversely affected. Additionally, we cannot assure you that the historic approval time for new drugs will not be impacted by the FDA’s priorities in response to COVID-19. The withdrawal of certain drugs from the market, including COVID-19 vaccines, increased safety risk profiles or regulatory restrictions, concerns about the safety or effectiveness of certain drugs, or negative publicity surrounding certain categories of drugs may also have a negative effect on our pharmacy sales or may cause shifts in our pharmacy or front-end product mix. Additionally, as we offer new products and services, our litigation and regulatory risk profile may change and increase our exposure to new risks that we have not previously encountered or addressed.
The availability of brand versus generic drugs and changes in those markets may also negatively impact our financial condition. Brand name drugs may become subject to inflation. Moreover, as generic drug utilization has increased, and due to consolidation within the generic drug manufacturing industry, our pharmacy business has experienced decreasing profit margins on generic drug sales. Generic drug profit margins also suffer as a result of downward pricing pressure from discount card vendors, cash pay pharmacies and other competitors. If our businesses are unable to accommodate shrinking profit margins and decreased sales on certain prescription drug products, our costs, revenue and overall profits could be adversely and materially impacted.
Changes in third party reimbursement levels for prescription drugs and changes in industry pricing benchmarks could reduce our margins and have a material adverse effect on our business.
Sales of prescription drugs reimbursed by third party payors, including the Medicare Part D plans and state sponsored Medicaid and related managed care Medicaid plans, represented substantially all of our pharmacy sales in our Retail Pharmacy segment in fiscal 2022.
The continued efforts of Congress and Federal agencies, health maintenance organizations, managed care organizations, PBM companies, other State and local government entities, and other third-party payors to reduce prescription drug costs and pharmacy reimbursement rates, as well as litigation relating to how drugs are priced, may impact our profitability. Consolidation within the Part D plan marketplace and fewer Part D plans may increase plans’ reimbursement leverage over our retail pharmacies. Additionally, in January 2022, CMS issued a Proposed Rule that would require Part D plans to apply all price concessions at the point of sale, which could result in unpredictable results, including potential negative impacts on pharmacy reimbursement through post-point of sale recoupment efforts by Part D plans.
The competitive success of our pharmacy business is largely dependent on our ability to establish and maintain contractual relationships with PBMs and other payors on acceptable terms as they may adopt narrow or restricted retail or specialty pharmacy networks. Some of these entities may offer pricing terms that we may not be willing to accept or otherwise restrict or exclude our participation in their networks of pharmacy providers. Any significant loss of third-party business could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Decreased reimbursement payments to retail and mail order pharmacies for brand and generic drugs has caused a reduction in our profit. Historically, the effect of this trend has been mitigated by our efforts to negotiate reduced acquisition costs of generic pharmaceuticals with manufacturers. Additionally, it has resulted in us providing contractual financial performance guarantees to certain of our PBM clients with respect to minimum drug price discounts for our retail pharmacy network and mail order pharmacy. Any inability to achieve guaranteed minimum drug price discounts provided to our PBM clients could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
In addition, it is possible that the pharmaceutical industry or regulators may evaluate and/or develop an alternative pricing reference to replace Average Wholesale Price (“AWP”), which is the pricing reference used for many of our PBM client contracts, pharmaceutical manufacturer rebate agreements, retail pharmacy network contracts, specialty payor agreements and other contracts with third party payors in connection with the reimbursement of drug payments. Future changes to the use of AWP or to other published pricing benchmarks used to establish pharmaceutical pricing, including changes in the basis for calculating reimbursement by federal and state health programs and/or other payors, could impact the reimbursement we receive from Medicare programs and Medicaid health plans, the reimbursement we receive from PBM clients and other payors and/or our ability to negotiate rebates with pharmaceutical manufacturers, acquisition discounts with wholesalers and retail discounts with network pharmacies. Likewise, Congress or the federal agencies could take actions that reduce or eliminate drug rebates obtained through negotiation with pharmaceutical manufacturers. The effect of these possible changes on our business cannot be predicted at this time.
During the past several years, the United States health care industry has been subject to an increase in governmental regulation, licensing and audits at both the federal and state levels. Efforts to control health care costs, including prescription drug costs, are continuing at the federal and state government levels. Changing political, economic and regulatory influences may significantly affect health care financing and reimbursement practices. A change in the composition of pharmacy prescription volume toward programs offering lower reimbursement rates could negatively impact our profitability. Additionally, significant changes in legislation, regulation and government policy could significantly impact our business and the health care and retail industries. While it is not possible to predict whether and when any such changes will occur or what form any such changes may take, legislative proposals have been made that could have a material adverse effect on our business include, but are not limited to, the repeal of all or part of the ACA and other significant changes to health care system legislation as well as changes with respect to tax and trade policies, tariffs and other government regulations affecting trade between the United States and other countries.
The repeal of all or part of the ACA, significant changes to Medicaid funding or even significant destabilization of the Health Insurance Marketplaces could impact the number of Americans with health insurance and, consequently, prescription drug coverage. Even if the ACA remains, significant provisions of the ACA have not yet been finalized (e.g., nondiscrimination in health programs and activities, excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage) and it is uncertain whether or in what form these provisions will be finalized. We cannot predict the effect, if any, a repeal of all or part of the ACA, the implementation or failure to implement the outstanding provisions of the ACA, or the enactment of new health care system legislation to replace current legislation may have on our retail pharmacy and pharmacy services operations.
A substantial portion of our pharmacy revenue is currently generated from a limited number of third party payors, and, if there is a loss of, or significant change to prescription drug reimbursement rates by, a major third party payor, our revenue will decrease and our business and prospects could be adversely impacted.
A substantial portion of our pharmacy revenue is currently generated from a limited number of third party payors. While we are not limited in the number of third party payors with which we can do business and results may vary over time, our top five third party payors accounted for 77.4%, 77.9% and 79.9% of our pharmacy revenue during fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The largest third party payor, CVS/Caremark, represented 32.1%, 30.4% and 28.8% of pharmacy sales during fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. We expect that a limited number of third party
payors will continue to account for a significant percentage of our pharmacy revenue, and the loss of all or a portion of, or a significant change to customer access or prescription drug reimbursement rates by, a major third party payor could decrease our revenue and harm our business.
In 2020, CMS adopted the Transparency in Coverage Final Rule, which requires non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered coverage in the group and individual markets to disclose on a public website certain price information, including negotiated rates and historical net prices for covered prescription drugs. While these requirements were set to take effect beginning on or after January 1, 2022, CMS has deferred enforcement. If CMS begins to enforce the Final Rule in the future or promulgates another regulation on the transparency of prescription drug information that is more extensive than the current Transparency in Coverage Rule, such a rule could inhibit the ability of pharmacy stakeholders, including our PBM and retail pharmacy business segments, respectively, from negotiating favorable reimbursement contracts for our Company.
A substantial portion of our Pharmacy Services segment revenue is currently generated from a limited number of customers, and, if there is a loss of a major customer, our revenue will decrease and our business and prospects could be adversely impacted.
A substantial portion of our Pharmacy Services segment revenue is currently generated from a limited number of customers. While we are not limited in the number of customers with which we can do business and results may vary over time, our top five customers accounted for 60.7%, which includes 2.3% related to a previously disclosed client loss, 59.7% and 53.2% of our Pharmacy Services segment revenue during fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The largest payor, CMS, represented 41.1%, 36.6% and 27.4% of Pharmacy Services segment revenue during fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. We expect that a limited number of customers will continue to account for a significant percentage of our Pharmacy Services segment revenue, and the loss of all or a portion of a major customer could decrease our revenue and harm our business.
We are exposed to risks related to litigation and other legal proceedings.
We operate in a highly regulated and litigious environment. We and/ or one or more of our subsidiaries are regularly involved in a variety of legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business, including arbitration, litigation (and related settlement discussions), and other claims, and are subject to regulatory proceedings including audits, inspections, inquiries, investigations, and similar actions by health care, insurance, pharmacy, tax and other governmental authorities. Legal proceedings, in general, and securities, derivative action and class action and multi-district litigation, in particular, can be expensive and disruptive, and may exceed any applicable insurance coverage. Additionally, defending against these lawsuits and proceedings may involve significant expense and diversion of management’s attention and resources. Some of these suits may purport or may be determined to be class actions and/or involve parties seeking large and/or indeterminate amounts, including punitive or exemplary damages, and may remain unresolved for several years.
For example, we, along with certain of our chain pharmacy competitors, have been named as a defendant in numerous lawsuits relating to the distribution and dispensing of prescription opioids, including in the consolidated federal multi-district litigation entitled In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation (MDL No. 2804), currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Similar cases that name us as a defendant also have been filed in numerous state court proceedings by any array of plaintiffs, including state Attorneys General, counties, cities, municipalities, Native American tribes, hospitals, third-party payors, and individuals. The Company has also received subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other requests relating to opioid matters from the Department of Justice and several state Attorneys General. Also, certain “usual and customary” actions are pending (or may be brought) against the Company which seek large and/or indeterminate damages. Generally, these matters allege that the Company’s retail stores overcharged for prescription drugs by not submitting the price available to members of the Rite Aid’s Rx Savings Program as the pharmacy’s usual and customary price, and related theories. These claims typically are alleged to arise under the Company’s agreements with insurers, as tort claims, or under the False Claims Act and similar theories for governmental programs, but may be alleged to arise otherwise.
We cannot predict with certainty the outcomes of these legal proceedings and other contingencies, and the costs incurred in litigation can be substantial, regardless of the outcome. Proceedings that we believe are insignificant may develop into material proceedings and subject us to unforeseen outcomes or expenses. Additionally, the actions of certain participants in our industry may encourage legal proceedings against us or cause us to reconsider our litigation strategies. As a result, we could from time to time incur judgments, enter into settlements or revise our expectations regarding the outcome of certain matters, and such developments could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and business practices.
We are subject to governmental regulations, procedures and requirements; our noncompliance or a significant legislative, regulatory, or public policy change could adversely affect our business, the results of our operations or our financial condition.
Our business is subject to numerous federal, state and local laws and regulations. Changes in these laws, regulations, or in related public policy may require extensive system and operating changes that may be difficult to implement, increase our operating costs and require significant capital expenditures. Untimely compliance or noncompliance with applicable regulations could result in the imposition of civil and criminal penalties that could adversely affect the continued operation of our business, including: (i) suspension of payments from government programs; (ii) loss of required government certifications; (iii) loss of authorizations or changes in requirements for participating in, or exclusion from government reimbursement programs, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs; (iv) loss of licenses; or (v) significant fines or monetary penalties. The regulations to which we are subject include, but are not limited to, federal, state and local regulation of pharmacies; dispensing and sale of controlled substances and products containing pseudoephedrine, among others; applicable Medicare and Medicaid Regulations; HIPAA; regulations relating to the protection of the environment and health and safety matters, including those governing exposure to and the management and disposal of hazardous substances; regulations enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the DEA as well as state regulatory authorities, governing the sale, advertisement and promotion of products we sell; anti-kickback laws; false claims laws and federal and state laws governing the practice of the profession of pharmacy and medicine. For example, in the U.S., the DEA, FDA and various other regulatory authorities regulate the distribution and dispensing of pharmaceuticals, controlled substances and listed chemicals. We are required to hold valid DEA and state-level licenses, meet various security and operating standards and comply with the federal and various state controlled substance acts and related regulations governing the sale, dispensing, disposal, holding and distribution of controlled substances and listed chemicals. Regulatory authorities have broad enforcement powers, including the ability to seize or recall products and impose significant criminal, civil and administrative sanctions for violations of these laws and regulations. We are also governed by federal and state laws of general applicability, including laws regulating matters of wage and hour laws, working conditions, health and safety and equal employment opportunity.
Our dealings with customers face scrutiny from the federal and state government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, who are charged with enforcing consumer protection laws and deterring alleged unfair or deceptive trade practices. Under these laws, regulated entities may be subject to legal action and government investigations in regards to a wide array of customer-facing matters, including product pricing and expiration, disability access, and member loyalty and other financial incentive programs. A failure to keep our customers adequately informed of our practices could result in government investigations or regulatory action which may result in potential fines and penalties.
Additionally, Congress passed the ACA in 2010, which resulted in significant structural changes to the health insurance system. If, in the future, a rollback of certain aspects of the ACA, such as Medicaid expansion, were to occur and were to lead to a significant reduction in demand for the healthcare services, the demand for our pharmacy services businesses may decline and could have a material impact on our business. Therefore, we cannot predict what effect, if any, the repeal of all or part of the ACA or any subsequent replacement legislation may have on our retail pharmacy and pharmacy services businesses.
Government audits, investigations, and reviews could lead to liability and operational changes.
Our pharmacy, PBM, and PDP businesses are subject to periodic audits, investigations, and reviews from state and federal regulators and agencies. Health care laws and regulations, particularly within the pharmacy sector, are complex and subject to frequent change. Moreover, federal and state regulators are highly focused on and engage in vigorous enforcement efforts with regard to fraud, waste and abuse within the health care and pharmacy industry. Accordingly, we invest significant resources in our compliance efforts and must constantly re-evaluate our efforts, as the laws, regulations, and enforcement trends may change.
Because our business is subject to varied audits, investigations, and reviews, we face risks including financial penalties, civil and/or criminal liability, suspension or exclusion from government programs, and possible licensure sanction. For example, because our PDP is governed by CMS’ audit authority, it could be subject to financial recoupment, penalties, beneficiary enrollment restrictions, and other forms of sanction. In addition, our PBM’s operations could be indirectly and adversely impacted if any of its Medicare plan clients are subjected to adverse government audits or enforcement actions. The outcome of any given audit, investigation, and/or review could require significant changes to our business practices, revenue flow, and overall financial condition, with a resulting adverse impact on the Company as a whole.
If our compliance or other systems and processes fail or are deemed inadequate, we may become subject to regulatory actions and/or litigation.
In addition to Rite Aid being subject to extensive and complex regulations, many contracts that Elixir has with its customers impose compliance obligations on it. These compliance obligations frequently are reviewed and audited by Elixir’s customers and regulators. More generally, if the Company’s systems and processes designed to maintain compliance with applicable legal and contractual requirements, and to prevent and detect instances of, or the potential for, non-compliance fail or are deemed inadequate, we may be subject to regulatory actions, litigation and other proceedings which may result in damages, fines, suspension or loss of licensure, suspension or exclusion from participation in government programs and/or other penalties, any of which could adversely affect our businesses, operating results, cash flows and/or financial condition.
Certain risks are inherent in providing pharmacy services; our insurance may not be adequate to cover any claims against us.
Pharmacies are exposed to risks inherent in the packaging and distribution of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products, such as with respect to improper filling of prescriptions, labeling of prescriptions, adequacy of warnings, unintentional distribution of counterfeit drugs and expiration of drugs. In addition, federal and state laws that require our pharmacists to offer counseling, without additional charge, to customers about medication, dosage, delivery systems, common side effects and other information the pharmacists deem significant can impact our business. Our pharmacists may also have a duty to warn customers regarding any potential negative effects of a prescription drug if the warning could reduce or negate these effects. Although we maintain professional liability and errors and omissions liability insurance, from time to time, claims result in the payment of significant amounts, some portions of which are not funded by insurance. We cannot assure you that the coverage limits under our insurance programs will be adequate to protect us against future claims, or that we will be able to maintain this insurance on acceptable terms in the future. Our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows may be adversely affected if in the future our insurance coverage proves to be inadequate or unavailable or there is an increase in liability for which we self-insure or we suffer reputational harm as a result of an error or omission.
We may be subject to significant liability should the consumption of any of our products cause injury, illness or death.
Products that we sell could become subject to contamination, product tampering, mislabeling or other damage requiring us to recall our products. We could be adversely impacted by the supply of defective or expired products, including the infiltration of counterfeit products into the supply chain, errors in re-labeling of products, product tampering, product recall and contamination or product mishandling issues. In 2021 and early 2022, FDA issued several
guidance documents that address various obligations of pharmacy industry stakeholders in complying with the track and trace requirements of the federal Drug Supply Chain Security Act (“DSCSA”), which has the purpose of preventing counterfeit drugs from entering the United States supply chain. These regulatory measures, future FDA DSCSA regulatory measures and the potential for increased FDA DSCSA enforcement could increase pharmacy costs to comply with the DSCSA and pharmacy costs for identifying and investigating potentially counterfeit drugs.
In addition, errors in the dispensing and packaging of pharmaceuticals could lead to serious injury or death. Product liability claims may be asserted against us with respect to any of the products or pharmaceuticals we sell and we may be obligated to recall our products. Moreover, while we have insurance to cover potential product liability and some claims may be subject to indemnification from other parties, we cannot guarantee that our insurance limits and/or indemnification will be adequate to cover any and all product related claims. We also may not be able to maintain this insurance on acceptable terms in the future. A product liability judgment against the Company or a product recall could have a material, adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition or results of operations.
Risks of declining gross margins in the PBM industry could adversely impact our profitability.
The PBM industry has been experiencing margin pressure as a result of competitive pressures and increased client demands for lower prices, performance guarantees, enhanced service offerings and higher rebate yields. With respect to rebate yields, we maintain contractual relationships with brand name pharmaceutical manufacturers that provide for rebates on drugs dispensed by pharmacies in our retail network and by our mail order pharmacy (all or a portion of which may be passed on to clients). Manufacturer rebates often depend on a PBM’s ability to meet contractual market share or other requirements, including in some cases the placement of a manufacturer’s products on the PBM’s formularies. If we lose our relationship with one or more pharmaceutical manufacturers, or if the rebates provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers decline, our business and financial results could be adversely affected. Further, changes in existing federal or state laws or regulations or the adoption of new laws or regulations relating to patent term extensions, rebate arrangements with pharmaceutical manufacturers, or to formulary management or other PBM services could also reduce or eliminate the manufacturer rebates we receive. We also have performance guarantees with select customers for rebates, and if our rebate aggregation contracts change or we are unable to meet our obligations due to mix of brand drugs, our financial performance for this business could be impacted.
We also maintain contractual relationships with participating pharmacies that provide for discounts on retail transactions for generic drugs and brand drugs dispensed by pharmacies in our retail network. If we lose our relationship with one or more of the larger pharmacies in our network, or if the retail discounts provided by network pharmacies decline, our business and financial results could be adversely affected. In addition, changes in federal or state laws or regulations or the adoption of new laws or regulations relating to claims processing and billing, including our ability to collect network administration and technology fees, could adversely impact our profitability.
Legislation exists under Medicare Part D and in the majority of states that affect the ability of our PBM business (and its health plan clients) to limit access to pharmacy provider networks or remove pharmacy network providers. For instance, “any willing provider” laws may mandate that our PBM or its health plan clients admit nonparticipating pharmacies that are willing and able to satisfy the applicable terms and conditions for network participation. Medicare Part D and many states have implemented laws or rules that limit the ability of PBMs and health plans to impose formulary conditions or restrictions, such as copayment differentials, and drug tiering designs, which may be used to manage drug benefits and promote cost-efficient utilization. Together, these laws could affect the ability of our PBM to effectively manage costs for its health plan clients. Additionally, many states now have legislation impacting the ability of our PBM to conduct audits of claims submitted by network pharmacies. These laws could hinder our PBM’s ability to recover overpayments identified through audits and negatively affect our PBM’s services and its ability to achieve enhanced economic outcomes for its health plan clients.
The possibility of PBM client loss and/or the failure to win new PBM business could impact our ability to secure new business.
Our PBM business generates net revenues primarily by contracting with clients to provide prescription drugs and related health care services to plan members. PBM client contracts often have terms of approximately three years in
duration, so approximately one third of a PBM’s client base typically is subject to renewal each year. In some cases, however, PBM clients may negotiate a shorter or longer contract term or may require early or periodic renegotiation of pricing prior to expiration of a contract. In addition, the reputational impact of a service-related incident could negatively affect our ability to grow and retain our client base. Further, the PBM industry has been impacted by consolidation activity that may continue in the future. In the event one or more of our PBM clients is acquired by an entity that obtains PBM services from a competitor, we may be unable to retain all or a portion of our clients’ business. Because of the competitive nature of the business, we continually face challenges in competing for new PBM business and retaining or renewing our existing PBM business. There can be no assurance that we will be able to win new business or secure renewal business on terms as favorable to us as the present terms. These circumstances, either individually or in the aggregate, could result in an adverse effect on our business and financial results.
Regulatory or business changes relating to our participation in Medicare Part D, the medical loss ratio for our Medicare Part D eligible members, or our failure to otherwise execute on our strategies related to Medicare Part D, may adversely impact our business and our financial results.
One of our subsidiaries, Elixir Insurance, is an insurer domiciled in Ohio (with Ohio as its primary insurance regulator) and licensed in all 50 states, and is approved to function as a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (“PDP”) plan sponsor for purposes of individual insurance products offered to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries and for purposes of making employer/union-only group waiver plans available for eligible clients. We also provide other products and services in support of our clients’ Medicare Part D plans or the Federal Retiree Drug Subsidy program. We are working to minimize the working capital tied to the business by reducing and/or selling the receivable as we did for calendar 2021, however there are no assurances that we can reduce or sell the receivable for calendar 2022. There are many uncertainties about the financial and regulatory risks of participating in the Medicare Part D program and we can give no assurance that these risks will not materially adversely impact our business and financial results in future periods.
EI is subject to various contractual and regulatory compliance requirements associated with participating in Medicare Part D. EI is subject to certain aspects of state laws regulating the business of insurance in all jurisdictions in which EI offers its PDP plans. As a PDP sponsor, EI is required to comply with Federal Medicare Part D laws and regulations applicable to PDP sponsors. Additionally, the receipt of Federal funds made available through the Part D program by us, our affiliates, or clients is subject to compliance with the Part D regulations and established laws and regulations governing the Federal government’s payment for healthcare goods and services, including the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act. Similar to our requirements with other clients, our policies and practices associated with operating our PDP are subject to audit. If material contractual or regulatory non-compliance was to be identified, monetary penalties and/or applicable sanctions, including suspension of enrollment and marketing or debarment from participation in Medicare programs, could be imposed. Further, the adoption or promulgation of new or more complex Medicare Part D regulatory requirements, including those governing pharmacy networks, benefit designs, and product pricing, could require us to incur significant costs which could adversely impact our business and our financial results. Similar negative impacts could result from potential Part D reimbursement reductions, adverse CMS audits, government enforcement actions, or decreases in star ratings. Further, EI’s level of margin is limited by minimum Medical Loss Ratio (“MLR”) requirements imposed by the ACA. Medicare PDPs are subject to minimum MLR audits and EI could be required to pay MLR rebates for failure to meet minimum MLRs in a given year and repeated MLR failures could lead to CMS termination.
In addition, due to the availability of Medicare Part D, some of our employer clients may decide to stop providing pharmacy benefit coverage to retirees, instead allowing the retirees to choose their own Part D plans, which could cause a reduction in demand for our Medicare Part D group insurance products. Extensive competition among Medicare Part D plans could also result in the loss of Medicare Part D members by our managed care customers, which would also result in a decline in our membership base. For example, if we were to lose our current Star rating with the CMS, fewer customers may select our plans, which could have an adverse effect on our financial results. Like many aspects of our business, the administration of the Medicare Part D program is complex. Any failure to execute the provisions of the Medicare Part D program may have an adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows. As discussed above, in March 2010, comprehensive healthcare reform was enacted into federal law through the passage of the ACA. Additionally, as described above, the ACA contains various changes to the Part D program and
could have a financial impact on our PDP and our clients’ demand for our other Part D products and services. Further, it is unclear what effect, if any, the potential repeal of all or part of the ACA may have on the Part D program.
Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer preferences and spending patterns, an inability to expand the products being purchased by our clients and customers, or the failure or inability to obtain or offer particular categories of products could negatively affect our relationship with our clients and customers and the demand for our products and services.
The success of our business depends in part on customer loyalty, superior customer service and our ability to persuade customers to purchase products in additional categories and our private label brands. Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer preferences and spending patterns, an inability to expand the products being purchased by our clients and customers, or the failure or inability to obtain or offer particular categories of products could negatively affect our relationship with our clients and customers and the demand for our products and services.
We offer our customers private label brand products that are available exclusively at our stores and through our online retail site. The sale of private label products subjects us to unique risks including potential product liability risks and mandatory or voluntary product recalls, our ability to successfully protect our intellectual property rights and the rights of applicable third parties, and other risks generally encountered by entities that source, market and sell private-label products. Any failure to adequately address some or all of these risks could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, an increase in the sales of our private label brands may negatively affect our sales of national-branded products which consequently, could adversely impact certain of our supplier relationships. Our ability to locate qualified, economically stable suppliers who satisfy our requirements, and to acquire sufficient products in a timely and effective manner, is critical to ensuring, among other things, that customer confidence is not diminished. Any failure to develop sourcing relationships with a broad and deep supplier base could adversely affect our financial performance and erode customer loyalty.
Moreover, customer expectations and new technology advances from our competitors have required that our business evolve so that we are able to interface with our retail customers not only face-to-face in our stores but also online and via mobile and social media. Our customers are using computers, tablets, mobile phones and other electronic devices to shop in our stores and online, as well as to provide public reactions concerning each facet of our operation. If we fail to keep pace with dynamic customer expectations and new technology developments, our ability to compete and maintain customer loyalty could be adversely affected.
Finally, Elixir’s specialty pharmacy business focuses on complex and high-cost medications that serve a relatively limited universe of patients. As a result, the future growth of our specialty pharmacy business is dependent largely upon expanding our base of drugs or penetration in certain treatment categories. Any contraction of our base of patients or reduction in demand for the prescriptions we currently dispense could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The impact of extreme events, natural disasters, and climate change could create unpredictability for our business operations.
Extreme weather, natural disasters, and pandemics, such as COVID-19, can have severe negative ramifications for the pharmacy industry, including interfering with revenue flows, reimbursement, and the drug supply chain. More broadly, long-term climate change has unknown and potentially negative impacts on our industry. These sorts of extreme events can lead to unknown cost increases for our business to supply health care services and therefore pose a risk to our business and operating results.
The seasonal nature of our business causes fluctuations in operations.
Our first and fourth fiscal quarter operation results generally fluctuate during the holidays, and cough, cold, and flu season, during which time we typically experience a larger proportion of retail sales and earnings as compared to other fiscal quarters. We increase our merchandise and inventory levels in anticipation of the holiday season, and there is a risk that unpredictable events, such as inclement weather, could impact retail sales and earnings during this time.
Furthermore, the unpredictable timing and severity of the cough, cold, and flu season may impact our first and fourth fiscal quarter operation results, including in regards to prescription and non-prescription drug sales. Additionally, the continued impact of COVID-19 and the related mitigation efforts, such as social distancing, mask mandates and the delay of elective medical procedures, could further exacerbate our seasonal trends for the cough, cold and flu season and prescription sales.
Changes in laws governing labor, employers, and union organizing may increase our labor costs.
The Company’s business costs are directly impacted by legal and regulatory mandates governing employers and unionizing activities. Federal and state labor laws are subject to ongoing legislative changes, and any new or more stringent mandates imposed on employers, such as minimum wage increases or additional paid leave requirements, will increase our costs as an employer. Our employee-related operating costs could also increase in response to any union organizing activities among our employees. Overall, these potential labor, wage and union-related changes could increase our operating costs and thereby negatively impact our financial condition.
Item 1B. Unresolved SEC Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
As of February 26, 2022, we operated 2,450 retail drugstores. The average selling square feet of each store in our chain is approximately 10,500 square feet. The average total square feet of each store in our chain is approximately 13,600. The stores in the eastern part of the U.S. average 8,800 selling square feet per store (11,200 average total square feet per store). The stores in the western part of the U.S. average 13,900 selling square feet per store (18,500 average total square feet per store).
The table below identifies the number of stores by state as of February 26, 2022:
Our stores have the following attributes at February 26, 2022:
Drive through pharmacy
GNC stores within a Rite Aid store
We lease 2,349 of our operating drugstore facilities under non-cancelable leases, many of which have original terms of 10 to 22 years. In addition to minimum rental payments, which are set at competitive market rates, certain leases require additional payments based on sales volume, as well as reimbursement for taxes, maintenance and insurance. Most of our leases contain renewal options, some of which involve rent increases. The remaining 101 drugstore facilities are owned.
We own our corporate headquarters, which is located in a 213,000 square foot building at 30 Hunter Lane, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011. We executed a lease during fiscal 2022 for a 23,000 square foot office facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and expect to relocate our corporate headquarters from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania during fiscal 2023. We lease 131,000 square feet of space in various buildings near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for document warehousing use and additional administrative personnel. We own additional buildings near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which total 98,000 square feet and house our model store and additional administrative personnel.
We operate the following distribution centers and satellite distribution locations, which we own or lease as indicated:
Distribution centers, continuing operations
Liverpool, New York
Des Moines, Washington
The original terms of the leases for our distribution centers and satellite distribution locations range from 5 to 20 years. In addition to minimum rental payments, certain distribution centers require tax reimbursement, maintenance and insurance. Most leases contain renewal options, some of which involve rent increases. Although from time to time, we may be near capacity at some of our distribution facilities, particularly at our older facilities, we believe that the capacity of our facilities is adequate.
We also lease a 55,800 square foot ice cream manufacturing facility and lease a 30,000 square foot storage facility located in El Monte, California.
Our Pharmacy Services segment leases approximately 242,000 square feet of space in various buildings primarily in Twinsburg, Ohio for additional administrative personnel. In addition, we own approximately 53,000 square feet of space in North Canton, Ohio for our mail order and specialty drug facilities.
On a regular basis and as part of our normal business, we evaluate store performance and may reduce in size, close or relocate a store if the store is redundant, underperforming or otherwise deemed unsuitable. We also evaluate strategic dispositions and acquisitions of facilities and prescription files. When we reduce in size, close or relocate a store or close distribution center facilities, we often continue to have leasing obligations or own the property. We attempt to sublease this space. As of February 26, 2022, we had 2,445,907 square feet of excess space, 1,096,725 square feet of which was subleased.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
The information in response to this item is incorporated herein by reference to Note 22, Commitments, Contingencies and Guarantees of the Consolidated Financial Statements of this Annual Report.
Item 103 of SEC Regulation S-K requires disclosure of certain environmental matters when a governmental authority is a party to the proceedings and such proceedings involve potential monetary sanctions that, among other matters, the Company reasonably believes will exceed an applied threshold not to exceed $1.0 million. Applying this threshold, there are no environmental matters to disclose for this period.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Information about our Executive Officers
The following sets forth the name, age and biographical information for each of the Registrant’s executive officers as of April 25, 2022:
Heyward Donigan, 61, Ms. Donigan was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2019 and President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2020. From 2015 to 2019 Ms. Donigan served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sapphire Digital, which designs and develops omni-channel platforms that help consumers choose their best fit healthcare providers. Previously, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Value Options, then the nation’s largest independent behavioral health improvement company, and prior to that she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Premara Blue Cross and as Senior Vice President of all operations at Cigna Healthcare. She previously held executive roles at General Electric, Empire BCBS and U.S. Healthcare. She has served on the Board of Directors of Rite Aid since 2019.
Matthew Schroeder, 52, Mr. Schroeder was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Rite Aid Corporation in March 2019 and was named Executive Vice President in September 2019. Prior to his promotion to this position, Mr. Schroeder served as Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer from 2017 until 2019. Mr. Schroeder joined Rite Aid in 2000 as Vice President of Financial Accounting and served as Group Vice President of Strategy, Investor Relations and Treasurer from 2010 to 2017. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Schroeder worked in public accounting for Arthur Andersen, LLP. Mr. Schroeder serves as a member of the board of directors of The Rite Aid Foundation.
Andre Persaud, 53, Mr. Persaud was appointed Executive Vice President, Retail for Rite Aid in February 2020. From 2018 to January 2020 Mr. Persaud was an executive consultant with Wakefern Food Corporation, the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative, where he worked on the company’s ongoing strategic transformation. From 2016 to January 2020 Mr. Persaud was the principal of The AVNP Group LLC, which provided management consulting services to drive organization transformations. From 2015 to 2016 Mr. Persaud served as executive vice president, retail, for Shopko Stores Operating Company with direct responsibility for all operating divisions and banners across retail, pharmacy and optical. He began his career as a pharmacist and served in progressive leadership roles to eventually lead drug store operations for Walmart Canada. Mr. Persaud has served on the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ board of directors and as a board advisor for Profitect, an AI and prescriptive analytics company.
Jessica Kazmaier, 45, Ms. Kazmaier has been the Chief Human Resources Officer at Rite Aid since March 2019 and was named Executive Vice President of Rite Aid in September 2019. Ms. Kazmaier joined Rite Aid in 2001 in the total rewards function and has held various human resources positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President, Total Rewards; and Group Vice President, Compensation, Benefits and Human Resources Corporate Services. Ms. Kazmaier previously served as retirement benefits manager at Harsco Corporation. Ms. Kazmaier has served as the President of The Rite Aid Foundation since October 2019.
Brian T. Hoover, 57, Mr. Hoover was appointed Chief Accounting Officer in March 2019. Prior to his promotion to this position, Mr. Hoover served as Group Vice President and Controller of the Company since 2017. Prior to that position, Mr. Hoover served as Vice President, Financial Reporting and Accounting from 2008 to 2017. Prior to that role, Mr. Hoover served in various positions of increasing responsibility at the Company. Mr. Hoover served for six years in public accounting at KPMG.
Justin Mennen, 41, Mr. Mennen was appointed Chief Technology and Digital Officer in March 2022. Mr. Mennen was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer in January 2019 and was named Executive Vice President in October 2019. Prior to joining Rite Aid, Mr. Mennen served as chief digital officer and chief information officer for CompuCom Systems Inc. from 2016 to December 2018. Before CompuCom, Mr. Mennen led technology organizations across several industries, most recently as the vice president of enterprise architecture and technology innovation for Estée Lauder Companies Inc. from 2014 to 2016 and as the regional chief information officer Asia Pacific and Japan for Dell Technologies from 2012 to 2014.
Paul Gilbert, 55, Mr. Gilbert was appointed Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in August 2020. Mr. Gilbert was a partner at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C from 2017 to 2020. Before that, he served for 10 years as the executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate governance officer at LifePoint Health, Inc. While at LifePoint, he also served as Chief Development Officer and Corporate Secretary.
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
On April 10, 2019, our Board of Directors approved a one-for-twenty reverse stock split of our outstanding shares of common stock. The reverse stock split was effected on April 18, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. At the effective time, every twenty issued and outstanding shares of our common stock were converted into one share of common stock. No fractional shares were issued in connection with the reverse stock split, and in lieu thereof, each stockholder holding fractional shares was entitled to receive a cash payment (without interest or deduction) from the Company’s transfer agent in an amount equal to such stockholder’s respective pro rata shares of the total net proceeds from the Company’s transfer agent sale of all fractional shares at the then-prevailing prices on the open market. In connection with the reverse stock split, the number of authorized shares of our common stock was also reduced on a one-for-twenty basis, from 1.5 billion to 75 million. The par value of each share of common stock remained unchanged. A proportionate adjustment was also made to the maximum number of shares issuable under the Company’s 2014 Equity Incentive Plan.
Our common stock is listed on the NYSE under the symbol “RAD.” On April 13, 2022, we had approximately 9,695 stockholders of record. The following table shows the quarterly high and low sales prices for our common stock, adjusted on a retroactive basis to reflect the reverse stock split:
2023 (through April 13, 2022)
We have not declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock since the third quarter of fiscal 2000 and we do not anticipate paying cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. Our senior secured credit facility and some of the indentures that govern our other outstanding indebtedness restrict our ability to pay dividends.
We have not sold any unregistered equity securities during the period covered by this report, nor have we repurchased any of our common stock, during the period covered by this report.
STOCK PERFORMANCE GRAPH
The graph below compares the yearly percentage change in the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock for the last five fiscal years with the cumulative total return on (i) the Russell 2000 Consumer Staples Index, (ii) the Russell 3000 Consumer Staples Index, (iii) the Russell 2000 Index, and (iv) the Russell 3000 Index, over the same period (assuming the investment of $100.00 in our common stock and such indexes on March 4, 2017 and reinvestment of dividends).
For comparison of cumulative total return, we have elected to use the Russell 2000 Consumer Staples Index, consisting of 68 companies, and the Russell 2000 Index. The Russell 2000 Consumer Staples Index is a capitalization-weighted index of companies that provide products directly to consumers that are typically considered nondiscretionary items based on consumer purchasing habits. The Russell 2000 Index consists of the smallest 2000 companies in the Russell 3000 Index and represents the universe of small capitalization stocks from which many active money managers typically select.
STOCK PERFORMANCE GRAPH
Comparison of 5 Year Cumulative Total Return
Assumes Initial Investment of $100 on March 4, 2017
February 26, 2022
RITE AID CORP
Russell 2000 Index
Russell 2000 Consumer Staples Index
Russell 3000 Index
Russell 3000 Consumer Staples Index
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Continuing Operations
We are a healthcare company with a retail footprint, providing our customers and communities with a high level of care and service through various programs we offer through our two reportable business segments, our Retail Pharmacy segment and our Pharmacy Services segment. We accomplish our goal of delivering comprehensive care to our customers through our retail drugstores and our PBM, Elixir. We also offer fully integrated mail-order and specialty pharmacy services through Elixir Pharmacy. Additionally through Elixir Insurance, Elixir also serves seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. When combined with our retail platform, this comprehensive suite of services allows us to provide value and choice to customers, patients and payors and allows us to compete in today’s evolving healthcare marketplace.
Retail Pharmacy Segment
Our Retail Pharmacy segment sells brand and generic prescription drugs and provides various other pharmacy services, as well as an assortment of front-end products including health and beauty aids, personal care products, seasonal merchandise, and a large private brand product line. Our Retail Pharmacy segment generates the majority of its revenue through the sale of prescription drugs and front-end products at our over 2,400 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states and through our e-commerce platform available at www.riteaid.com. We replenish our retail stores through a combination of direct store delivery of pharmaceutical products facilitated through our pharmaceutical Purchasing and Delivery Agreement with McKesson, and the majority of our front-end products through our network of distribution centers.
Pharmacy Services Segment
Our Pharmacy Services segment provides a fully integrated suite of PBM offerings including technology solutions, mail delivery services, specialty pharmacy, network and rebate administration, claims adjudication and pharmacy discount programs. Elixir also provides prescription discount programs and Medicare Part D insurance offerings for individuals and groups. Elixir provides services to various clients across its different lines of business, including major health plans, commercial employers, labor groups and state and local governments, representing over 2 million covered lives, including approximately 0.7 million covered lives through our Medicare Part D insurance offerings. Elixir continues to focus its efforts and offerings to its target market of small to mid-market employers, labor unions and regional health plans, including provider-led health plans and government sponsored Medicaid and Medicare plans.
Beginning in Fiscal 2019, we initiated a series of restructuring plans designed to reorganize our executive management team, reduce managerial layers, and consolidate roles. In March 2020, we announced the details of our RxEvolution strategy, which includes building tools to work with regional health plans to improve patient health outcomes, rationalizing SKU’s in our front-end offering to free up working capital and update our merchandise assortment, assessing our pricing and promotional strategy, rebranding our retail pharmacy and pharmacy services business, launching our Store of the Future format and further reducing SG&A and headcount, including integrating certain back office functions in the Pharmacy Services segment both within the segment and across Rite Aid. Other strategic initiatives include the expansion of our digital business, replacing and updating the Company’s financial systems to improve efficiency, and movement to a common client platform at Elixir. In April 2022, we announced further strategic initiatives to reduce costs through the closure of unprofitable stores, reducing corporate administration expenses and improving efficiencies in worked payroll and other store labor costs as well as expense reductions at our Pharmacy Services segment. These and future restructuring activities are expected to provide future growth and expense efficiency benefits. There can be no assurance that our current and future restructuring charges will achieve the cost savings and remerchandising benefits in the amounts or time anticipated.
Asset Sale to WBA
As previously disclosed, on September 18, 2017, we entered into the Amended and Restated Asset Purchase Agreement (the “Amended and Restated Asset Purchase Agreement”) with WBA and Walgreen Co., an Illinois corporation and wholly-owned direct subsidiary of WBA (“Buyer”), which, based on its magnitude and because we exited certain markets, we applied discontinued operations treatment as required by GAAP.
During the thirteen week period ended May 30, 2020, we completed the final asset transfer under the Amended and Restated Asset Purchase Agreement, resulting in net income from discontinued operations, net of tax of $9.1 million. On October 17, 2020, we and WBA mutually agreed to terminate the services under the Transition Services Agreement (“TSA”).
Impact of COVID-19
In March 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by a novel strain of the coronavirus was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the economies of the United States and other countries around the world.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rite Aid has been on the front lines of providing communities with essential care, services and products, including the administration of COVID-19 testing and vaccines. We have taken numerous steps to ensure that Rite Aid can continue providing these vital services during this time of great need, including hiring additional full and part-time associates to support our stores and distribution center teams, providing our front line associates with our Hero Pay and Hero Bonus programs and instituted a Pandemic Pay policy that ensures associates are compensated if diagnosed with the virus or quarantined due to exposure. We also implemented safety protocols to keep our associates and customers safe, and transitioned our office-based associates to a remote work environment. Our strong local presence and scale in communities in our markets enables us to play a central role in the response to COVID-19, as well as provide seamless support for our customers wherever they need it; at our stores and at their homes through our delivery services.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our operating results for the fiscal years ended February 26, 2022 and February 27, 2021 and will continue to have an impact on several factors underlying our operating results in fiscal 2023. Those factors include the number of individuals that receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster; demand for COVID-19 testing; the timing and extent to which elective procedures return to pre-pandemic levels; the demand for flu and other immunizations and the length and severity of the upcoming cough, cold flu season.
Overview of Financial Results from Continuing Operations
The following information summarizes our financial results from continuing operations for fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021. For discussion of our financial results from continuing operations for fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2020, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Continuing Operations” included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 27, 2021, which we filed with the SEC on April 27, 2021.
Net Loss: Our net loss from continuing operations for fiscal 2022 was $538.5 million or $9.96 per basic and diluted share compared to net loss from continuing operations for fiscal 2021 of $100.1 million or $1.87 per basic and diluted share. The increase in net loss is due primarily to goodwill impairment related to the Pharmacy Services segment, higher facility exit and impairment charges, a LIFO charge in the current year compared to a LIFO credit in the prior year, higher litigation settlements, and a gain on the acquisition of Bartell Drugs in the prior year. These items were partially offset by an increase in Adjusted EBITDA and lower restructuring-related costs.
Adjusted EBITDA: Our Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for fiscal 2022 was $505.9 million or 2.1 percent of revenues, compared to $437.7 million or 1.8 percent of revenues for fiscal 2021. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations was due primarily to an increase of $112.7 million in the Retail Pharmacy segment partially offset by a decrease of $44.5 million in the Pharmacy Services segment. The increase in the Retail Pharmacy
Segment Adjusted EBITDA was driven by increased gross profit, partially offset by an increase in SG&A expenses. Gross profit benefitted from higher pharmacy same store sales, including immunizations, and incremental gross profit from our Bartell stores. These increases were partially offset by pharmacy reimbursement rate pressures. SG&A expenses were negatively impacted by cycling the benefit from the prior year change to modernize our associate PTO plans, incremental costs from our Bartell stores, and costs incurred to support our COVID-19 vaccination program, partially offset by labor savings due to the cycling of the prior year’s Hero Pay and Hero Bonus programs and the COVID-19 buying surge. The decrease in the Pharmacy Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA was due to a decrease in gross profit impacted from the decline in revenues, a reduction in rebates, an increase in the medical loss ratio at Elixir Insurance, and the decision to exit the rebate aggregation business. Please see the sections entitled “Segment Analysis” and Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income (Loss) per Diluted Share and Other Non-GAAP Measures” below for additional details.
Consolidated Results of Operations—Continuing Operations
Revenue and Other Operating Data
February 26, 2022
February 27, 2021
February 29, 2020
(Dollars in thousands except per share amounts)
Net loss per diluted share
Adjusted Net (Loss) Income (b)
Adjusted Net (Loss) Income per Diluted Share(b)
|(a)||Revenues for the fiscal years ended February 26, 2022, February 27, 2021 and February 29, 2020 exclude $249,686, $292,157 and $247,353, respectively, of inter-segment activity that is eliminated in consolidation.|
|(b)||See “Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income (Loss), Adjusted Net Income (Loss) per Diluted Share and Other Non-GAAP Measures” for additional details.|
Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021: The 2.2% increase in revenues was due primarily to a $1.13 billion increase in Retail Pharmacy segment revenues partially offset by a $647.0 million decrease in Pharmacy Services segment revenues. Same store sales trends for fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021 are described in the “Segment Analysis” section below.
Please see the section entitled “Segment Analysis” below for additional details regarding revenues.
Costs and Expenses
February 26, 2022
February 27, 2021
February 29, 2020
(Dollars in thousands)
Cost of revenues(a)
Selling, general and administrative expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenues
Facility exit and impairment charges
Goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges
Loss (gain) on debt modifications and retirements, net
Loss (gain) on sale of assets, net
Loss (gain) on Bartell acquisition
|(a)||Cost of revenues for the fiscal years ended February 26, 2022, February 27, 2021 and February 29, 2020 exclude $249,686, $292,157 and $247,353, respectively, of inter-segment activity that is eliminated in consolidation.|
Gross Profit and Cost of Revenues
Gross profit increased by $402.2 million in fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021. Gross profit for fiscal 2022 includes an increase of $466.3 million in our Retail Pharmacy segment and a decrease in gross profit of $64.1 million relating to our Pharmacy Services segment. Gross margin was 20.8% for fiscal 2022 compared to 19.6% in fiscal 2021. Please see the section entitled “Segment Analysis” for a more detailed description of gross profit and gross margin results by segment.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
SG&A increased by $376.7 million in fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021. The increase in SG&A includes an increase of $357.6 million relating to our Retail Pharmacy segment and an increase of $19.1 million relating to our Pharmacy Services segment. Please see the section entitled “Segment Analysis” below for additional details regarding SG&A.
Facility Exit and Impairment Charges
We evaluate long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that an asset group has a carrying value that may not be recoverable. The individual operating store is the lowest level for which cash flows are identifiable. As such, we evaluate individual stores for recoverability of assets. To determine if a store needs to be tested for recoverability, we consider items such as decreases in market prices, changes in the manner in which the store is being used or physical condition, changes in legal factors or business climate, an accumulation of losses significantly in excess of budget, a current period operating or cash flow loss combined with a history of operating or cash flow losses or a projection of continuing losses, or an expectation that the store will be closed or sold.
We monitor new and recently relocated stores against operational projections and other strategic factors such as regional economics, new competitive entries and other local market considerations to determine if an impairment
evaluation is required. For other stores, we perform a recoverability analysis if they have experienced current-period and historical cash flow losses.
In performing the recoverability test, we compare the expected future cash flows of a store to the carrying amount of its assets. Significant judgment is used to estimate future cash flows. Major assumptions that contribute to our future cash flow projections include expected sales, gross profit and distribution expenses; expected costs such as payroll, occupancy costs and advertising expenses; and estimates for other significant selling, and general and administrative expenses. Additionally, we take into consideration that certain operating stores are executing specific improvement plans which are monitored quarterly to recoup recent capital investments, such as an acquisition of an independent pharmacy, which we have made to respond to specific competitive or local market conditions, or have specific programs tailored towards a specific geography or market.
We recorded impairment charges of $150.8 million in fiscal 2022, $46.3 million in fiscal 2021 and $39.9 million in fiscal 2020. We recorded impairment charges of $99.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, $31.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and $38.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Our methodology for recording impairment charges has been consistently applied in the periods presented.
At February 26, 2022, approximately $813.6 million of our long-lived assets, including intangible assets, were associated with 2,450 active operating stores. Additionally, we have approximately $2.6 billion of operating lease right-of-use assets associated with the active stores.
If an operating store’s estimated future undiscounted cash flows are not sufficient to cover its carrying value, its carrying value is reduced to fair value based on its estimated future discounted cash flows. The discount rate is commensurate with the risks associated with the recovery of a similar asset. Operating lease right-of-use assets are included within the stores’ asset groups. We obtain fair values of these right-of-use assets based on real estate market data.
An impairment charge is recorded in the period that the store does not meet its original return on investment and/or has an operating loss for the last two years and its projected cash flows do not exceed its current asset carrying value. The amount of the impairment charge is the entire difference between the current carrying asset value and the estimated fair value of the assets using discounted future cash flows.
We recorded impairment charges for active stores of $56.2 million in fiscal 2022, $29.8 million in fiscal 2021 and $34.8 million in fiscal 2020.
We review key performance results for active stores on a quarterly basis and approve certain stores for closure. Impairment for closed stores, if any (many stores are closed on lease expiration), are recorded in the quarter the closure decision is approved. Closure decisions are made on an individual store or regional basis considering all of the macro-economic, industry and other factors, in addition to, the operating store’s individual operating results. We recorded impairment charges for closed facilities of $94.6 million in fiscal 2022, $16.5 million in fiscal 2021 and $5.1 million in fiscal 2020.
The following table summarizes the impairment charges and number of locations, segregated by closed facilities and active stores that have been recorded in fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020:
February 26, 2022
February 27, 2021
February 29, 2020
(in thousands, except number of stores)
Stores previously impaired(1)
New, relocated and remodeled stores(2)
Remaining stores not meeting the recoverability test(3)
Total impairment charges—active stores
Total impairment charges—closed facilities
Total impairment charges—all locations
|(1)||These charges are related to stores that were impaired for the first time in prior periods. In an effort to improve the operating results or to meet geographical competition, we will often make additional capital additions in stores that were impaired in prior periods. These additions will be impaired in future periods if they are deemed to be unrecoverable. In connection with our March 3, 2019 adoption of ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), under the alternative transition method, and the recording of our corresponding right-of-use asset (“ROU”), we include the ROU in our recoverability assessment. Our fiscal 2022 impairment charge includes $5,434 of impairment relating to our ROU and $6,905 of capital additions. Our fiscal 2021 impairment charge includes $15,459 of impairment relating to our ROU and $5,913 of capital additions. Our fiscal 2020 impairment charge includes $6,594 of impairment relating to our ROU and $4,855 of capital additions.|
|(2)||These charges are related to new stores (open at least three years) and relocated stores (relocated in the last two years) and significant strategic remodels (remodeled in the last year) that did not meet their recoverability test during the current period. These stores have not met our original return on investment projections and have a historical loss of at least two years. Their future cash flow projections do not recover their current carrying value. Our fiscal 2022 impairment charge includes $0 of impairment relating to our ROU and $538 of capital additions. Our fiscal 2021 impairment charge includes $347 of impairment relating to our ROU and $1,172 of capital additions. Our fiscal 2020 impairment charge includes $5,625 of impairment relating to our ROU and $5,603 of capital additions.|
|(3)||These charges are related to the remaining active stores that did not meet the recoverability test during the current period. These stores have a historical loss of at least two years. Their future cash flow projections do not recover their current carrying value. Our fiscal 2022 impairment charge includes $26,130 of impairment relating to our ROU and $17,175 of capital additions. Our fiscal 2021 impairment charge includes $3,177 of impairment relating to our ROU and $3,677 of capital additions. Our fiscal 2020 impairment charge includes $2,228 of impairment relating to our ROU and $9,920 of capital additions.|
The primary drivers of our impairment charges are each store’s current and historical operating performance and the assumptions that we make about each store’s operating performance in future periods. Projected cash flows are updated based on the next year’s operating budget which includes the qualitative factors noted above. We are unable to predict with any degree of certainty which individual stores will fall short or exceed future operating plans. Accordingly, we are unable to describe future trends that would affect our impairment charges, including the likely stores and their related asset values that may fail their recoverability test in future periods.
To the extent that actual future cash flows may differ from our projections materially certain stores that are either not impaired or partially impaired in the current period may be further impaired in future periods. A 50 and 100 basis point decrease in our future sales assumptions as of February 26, 2022 would have resulted in 3 and 14, respectively, additional stores being subjected to our impairment analysis.
Facility Exit Charges: We calculate our liability for closed stores on a store-by-store basis. The calculation for stores where remaining lease term exceeds one year includes the ancillary costs from the date of closure to the end of the
remaining lease term. We evaluate these assumptions each quarter and adjust the liability accordingly. As part of our ongoing business activities, we assess stores and distribution centers for potential closure and relocation. Decisions to close or relocate stores or distribution centers in future periods would result in lease exit costs and inventory liquidation charges, as well as impairment of assets at these locations.
In fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, we recorded facility exit charges of $29.4 million, $12.1 million, and $2.9 million, respectively.
Goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges
In the fiscal fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 we completed a quantitative goodwill impairment assessment, at which time it was determined after evaluating results, events and circumstances that a quantitative assessment was necessary for the Pharmacy Services segment. The quantitative assessment concluded that the carrying amount of the Pharmacy Services segment exceeded its fair value principally due to a decrease in Adjusted EBITDA that was driven by commercial and Medicare Part D business compression due to industry consolidation, an increase in the medical loss ratio at Elixir Insurance, and a decision to exit our rebate aggregation business. This resulted in a goodwill impairment charge of $229.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 26, 2022.
In connection with the RxEvolution initiatives previously announced on March 16, 2020, the Company rebranded its EnvisionRxOptions and MedTrak subsidiaries to its new brand name, Elixir. These trademarks qualify as Level 3 within the fair value hierarchy. Upon the implementation of the rebranding initiatives during the first quarter of fiscal 2021, the Company has determined that the carrying value exceeded the fair value and consequently the Company incurred an impairment charge of $29.9 million for these trademarks, which is included within goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges within the condensed consolidated statement of operations.
In the fiscal fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020, we completed a quantitative goodwill impairment assessment and determined after evaluating the results, events and circumstances, that sufficient evidence existed to assert that it is more likely than not that the fair values of the reporting units exceeded their carrying values. Therefore, no goodwill impairment charge was assessed for the fiscal years ended February 27, 2021 and February 29, 2020.
In fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, interest expense was $191.6 million, $201.4 million and $229.7 million, respectively.
The annual weighted average interest rates on our indebtedness in fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020 were 5.6%, 5.4% and 5.7%, respectively.
Income Taxes—Continuing Operations
Income tax benefit of $3.8 million, income tax benefit of $20.2 million and income tax expense of $387.6 million, has been recorded for fiscal 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Net loss for fiscal 2022 included a provision for income tax based on an overall tax rate of 0.7%, which was net of adjustments to maintain a full valuation allowance for federal deferred tax assets as well as the majority of our state deferred tax assets. These assets may not be realized based on our most recent assessment that it is more likely than not that sufficient taxable income may not be generated to realize the tax benefits of our net deferred tax assets.
Net loss for fiscal 2021 included a provision for income tax based on an overall tax rate of 16.8%, which was net of adjustments to maintain a full valuation allowance for federal deferred tax assets as well as the majority of our state deferred tax assets. These assets may not be realized based on our most recent assessment that it is more likely than not that sufficient taxable income may not be generated to realize the tax benefits of our net deferred tax assets. Additionally, the overall tax rate includes a permanent tax benefit related to our bargain purchase gain on the Bartell acquisition resulting in an impact of 8.3%.
ASC 740, “Income Taxes” requires a company to evaluate its deferred tax assets on a regular basis to determine if a valuation allowance against the net deferred tax assets is required. We take into account all available positive and negative evidence with regard to the recognition of a deferred tax asset including our past earnings history, expected future earnings, the character and jurisdiction of such earnings, unsettled circumstances that, if unfavorably resolved, would adversely affect recognition of a deferred tax asset, carryback and carryforward periods and tax planning strategies that could potentially enhance the likelihood of realization of a deferred tax asset. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon the existence of sufficient taxable income generated in the carryforward periods. Accordingly, changes in the valuation allowance from period to period are included in the tax provision in the period of change.
We maintained a valuation allowance of $1,822.7 million, $1,657.6 million and $1,673.1 million against remaining net deferred tax assets at fiscal year-end 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Our ability to utilize the losses and credits to offset future taxable income may be deferred or limited significantly if we were to experience an “ownership change” as defined in section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). In general, an ownership change will occur if there is a cumulative change in ownership of the Company’s stock by “5-percent shareholders” (as defined in the Code) that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. The Company determined that no ownership change has occurred for purposes of Section 382 for the period ended February 26, 2022. It is important to note, that the limitation that would be created upon an ownership change would only apply to income earned after the event that caused the ownership change.
Dilutive Equity Issuances
On February 26, 2022, 55.8 million shares of common stock, which includes unvested restricted shares, were outstanding and an additional 0.7 million shares of common stock were issuable related to outstanding stock options.
On February 26, 2022, our 0.7 million shares of potentially issuable common stock consisted of the following (shares in thousands):
$0.00 - $19.99
$20.00 to $39.99
$40.00 to $59.99
$60.00 to $79.99
$80.00 to $99.99
$100.00 to $119.99
$120.00 to $139.99
$140.00 to $159.99
$160.00 and over
Total issuable shares
|(a)||The exercise of these options would provide cash of $10.9 million.|
We evaluate the Retail Pharmacy and Pharmacy Services segments’ performance based on revenue, gross profit, and Adjusted EBITDA. The following is a reconciliation of our segments to the consolidated financial statements:
February 26, 2022:
February 27, 2021:
February 29, 2020:
|(1)||Intersegment eliminations include intersegment revenues and corresponding cost of revenues that occur when Pharmacy Services segment customers use Retail Pharmacy segment stores to purchase covered products. When this occurs, both the Retail Pharmacy and Pharmacy Services segments record the revenue on a stand-alone basis.|
See the section entitled “Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income (Loss), Adjusted Net Income (Loss) per Diluted Share and Other Non-GAAP Measures” below for additional details.
Retail Pharmacy Segment Results of Continuing Operations
Revenues and Other Operating Data
February 26, 2022
February 27, 2021
February 29, 2020