An alternative data profile of Rite Aid as it goes through a major shakeup

1 week ago by James Mattone in Facts, Features, Trends

Rite Aid ($NYSE:RAD) is one of the largest drugstore chains in America. Every day, it competes with the likes of CVS ($NYSE:CVS) and Walgreens Boots Alliance ($NASDAQ:WBA) for customers who need anything from filled prescriptions, to peanuts, to condoms, to cosmetics.

Due to its presence on the web, we're able to derive insights from them through metrics such as its job openings, employee sentiments, and store locations.

In light of recent layoffs and a major CEO change, here is what alternative data from Rite Aid's public-facing digital presence tell us.

Rite Aid job openings, especially in Corporate, on cyclical decline

As of March 12, there were 1,760 individual job listings on the Rite Aid careers website. That is down nearly 1,000 listings since mid-November.

Alone, this looks to be in-line with Rite Aid's layoffs. However, when looking back to 2017-18, it seems that this pattern is cyclical; job postings were peaking in mid-November, then sharply declined all the way until April of the next year.

The most relevant section of Rite Aid's job listings data is its corporate job postings, as it plans to layoff 400 employees in the corporate offices due to restructuring. When the database first started tracking this data, there were 44 openings in various Corporate job categories, such as Legal, Category Management / Marketing / Merchandising, and even Aviation.

On September 14, 2017, the reported number of corporate job postings was 44. By July 13, 2018, Rite Aid only had 28 job listings in corporate categories.

On March 12, 2019, there were 13 corporate job postings, less than half the number of postings the thrift store had nearly nine months ago.

Although the number of job openings and headcount have no correlation, a decrease in job openings is a sign that a company is at - or in the case of Rite Aid - over capacity. Usually, a decrease in openings can infer either a hiring freeze or potential layoffs, but retroactively, we can see that there was a decrease in corporate job openings in the months leading up to layoffs.

However, it may have just been in line with a cycle that Rite Aid appears to have when it comes to job openings and, by proxy, hiring.

Rite Aid is concentrated on the coasts, pails in store count to competitors

Rite Aid currently has 3,681 stores from coast-to-coast, but most of these retail outlets are in states that border the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

Rite Aid still has 36 stores in Texas and three in Colorado, but mainly, it has stores in New York, California, and its founding state of Pennsylvania.

State

Number of Rite Aid Stores

CA 

560

NY

552

PA

545

MI

266

NJ

236

OH

216

VA

153

WA

137

MD

118

MA

111


Rite Aid's main competitors — CVS and Walgreens — have a far greater footprint than it; they both have double the number of stores that Rite Aid has, much thanks to locations spread across the Midwest and a healthy number of stores in Rite Aid's territory.

Entity Name

Number of Stores

CVS Pharmacy

9,804

Walgreens

8,153

Rite Aid

3,681

Despite lagging behind CVS and Walgreens' raw store count, in Rite Aid's big states, such as New York, it is competing neck-and-neck with these giant rivals. In fact, Rite Aid's 552 locations in New York is more than the number of Walgreens in the state (423) and only 21 less stores than what CVS has here (573).

According to its store location data, Rite Aid's strategy is to focus on the more-populated city areas and coastal states while its competitors go for all 50. And although it has to reduce headcount and is seeing major change among its executives, it is still in business and competing with the industry's top dogs.

Rite Aid employee sentiment ratings are mixed among the pack

On employer review website Glassdoor, Rite Aid's ratings are well below the Food & Drug Retailers average.

However, in comparison to its peers, it is all over the place across multiple employee sentiment ratings.

Overall, the company received a review score of 3 out of 5 stars after aggregating all employee reviews written anonymously on Glassdoor. That puts it right above CVS' rating, equal to Walgreens' rating, as well as just below the industry average.

Rite Aid's outgoing CEO, John T. Standley, currently has a objectively bad 37% approval rating. While this is far below the industry average, it is better than the approval ratings of CVS CEO Larry J. Merlo and Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina.

In terms of business outlook, Rite Aid has a 22% rating from employees. This comes while layoffs loom and two failed buyout attempts in 2018.

Compared to CVS and Walgreens, it is the worst among the pack by a longshot.

Rite Aid employees would generally not recommend the company as a place to work. Thirty-nine percent of employees that rated the company on Glassdoor would recommend a peer to work there. That's right in between CVS and Walgreens' ratings, but well below the industry average.

These ratings are pretty indicative of where Rite Aid falls in the grand scheme of the drug store industry; it is caught right between the two giants of CVS and Walgreens and, as seen by the restructuring, has an uncertain future, especially when considering its failed buyout attempts.

James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, and he has an interest in video games, music, and tech news. You can find him on Twitter @TheJamesMattone.

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