The public health crisis has considerably reshaped the landscape of the retail pharmacies and drug store industry. Despite significant supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages, the industry has seen a surge in demand due to the increasing need for remote medical services and patient care.
Mail-order pharmacies are experiencing growth, driven mainly by the rising prevalence of telehealth and remote monitoring services. In response to these changes, many retail industry players utilize digital technology to diversify their offerings beyond traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This shift has presented unique opportunities for industry heavyweights, investing strategically to simplify patient access to prescription and maintenance medications.
However, numerous challenges have weighed down these positives, including inflation, labor shortages, unfavorable drug pricing, reimbursement issues, and lawsuits facing the industry.
Among those significantly impacted is pharmacy giant Rite Aid Corporation (RAD). The company is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to its considerable $3.30 billion debt as of June 3, 2023, and repercussions arising from pending litigation accusing it of contributing to the opioid epidemic through relaxed prescription policies for potent painkillers.
The company also faces adversity from the United States Justice Department, which sued RAD in March for purportedly filling 'unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances.' Officials have criticized the pharmaceutical retailer for disregarding "obvious red flags" related to potential misuse of prescribed medicines, including oxycodone and fentanyl.
As of June 3, 2023, RAD operated 2,284 pharmacy locations, representing a decline from previous years. The company closed 239 outlets since 2021, of which 145 came in 2022 and the remaining 27 in the last quarter ending June 3, 2023.
In its bankruptcy proceedings, RAD considers closing 400 to 500 stores out of more than 2,100 and transferring the remainder to creditors or willing buyers. Notwithstanding, a group of bondholders has preferred an even higher number of store closures, with discussions ongoing on the final count.
The company has been struggling with challenges beyond the opioid lawsuits as it seeks a path to profitability. For the fiscal first quarter that ended June 3, 2023, its revenues dropped 6% year-over-year to $5.65 billion. Its net loss nearly tripled from $110.19 million in the prior year quarter to $306.72 million.
RAD’s pharmacy services segment, Elixir, contributed to the overall loss. The pharmacy services segment revenues stood at $1.20 billion for the quarter, a decrease of 30.7% compared to the prior-year quarter.
The decrease in revenues was primarily the result of a reduction in Elixir Individual Part D Insurance membership due to a change in the company’s pricing structure and loss of commercial clients, partially offset by increased utilization and higher drug costs.
Shares of RAD plunged by about 50% after reports unveiled that the drugstore chain is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This marked its largest-ever intraday fall and the culmination of a significant decrease from over $26 at the beginning of 2021 to below $1, where it has remained for nearly a month. The stock has declined 81.1% year-to-date to close its last trading session at $0.59.
RAD’s poor financial health has pushed many institutional holders to adjust their RAD stock holdings. Institutions hold roughly 34.5% of RAD shares. Of the 163 institutional holders, 88 have decreased their positions in the stock. Moreover, 50 institutions have sold their positions (1,512,808 shares), reflecting dwindling confidence in the company.
Furthermore, for the fiscal year 2024, the company anticipates its net loss between $650 million and $680 million, while adjusted net loss per share is expected to be between $4.29 and $4.78.
Given this backdrop, let’s look at three other stocks which could benefit from RAD’s bankruptcy:
WMT engages in the operation of retail, wholesale, and other units worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S.; Walmart International; and Sam’s Club.
WMT was exploring the purchase of a majority stake in ChenMed, a value-based care organization of more than 125 primary care clinics in 15 states focused on treating older adults.
Given WMT’s ambitious growth goals for its healthcare operations, expanding its reach with value-based care makes sense. This could lead to greater engagement with patients, payers, and providers while broadening the payment models in which the companies participate.
WMT’s board of directors approved an annual dividend for the fiscal year 2024 of $2.28 per share. The annual dividend would be paid in four quarterly installments of $0.57 per share.
The annual dividend translates to a 1.40% yield on the current price. Its dividends have grown at 1.8% and 1.9% CAGRs over the past three and five years. Its four-year average dividend yield is 1.60%. WMT has increased its dividend in each of the past 49 years. This reflects its shareholder payment abilities.
WMT’s revenue grew at CAGRs of 5.2% and 4.3% over the past three and five years, respectively. Its EBITDA grew at 3.3% and 2.7% CAGRs over the same period. Also, its EBIT grew at CAGRs of 4.6% and 3.4% in the same time frame.
WMT’s trailing-12-month ROCE, ROTC, and ROTA of 17.87%, 10.60%, and 5.50% are 58.5%, 63.7%, and 28.1% higher than the industry averages of 11.28%, 6.48%, and 4.30%, respectively. Its trailing-12-month cash from operations of $37.80 billion is significantly higher than the $505 million industry average.
WMT’s total revenues for the fiscal second quarter that ended July 31, 2023, increased 5.7% year-over-year to $161.63 billion. The company’s adjusted operating income rose 8.1% over the prior-year quarter to $7.41 billion.
In addition, its consolidated net income attributable to WMT increased 53.3% over the prior-year quarter to $7.89 billion. Also, its adjusted EPS came in at $1.84, representing an increase of 4% year-over-year. As of July 31, 2023, its long-term debt stood at $2.90 billion, compared to $4.19 billion as of January 31, 2023.
Analysts expect WMT’s revenue and EPS for the fiscal third quarter ending October 2023 to increase 4.5% and 0.6% year-over-year to $158.28 billion and $1.51, respectively. The company surpassed the consensus revenue and EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, which is impressive.
The stock has gained 14.5% year-to-date to close the last trading session at $162.35.
Moreover, ownership data indicates institutional holders have a significant interest in WMT, accounting for approximately 34% of WMT shares. Of the 3,041 institutional holders, 1,381 have increased their positions in the stock. Moreover, 168 institutions have taken new positions (4,947,591 shares), reflecting confidence in the company’s trajectory.
The Illinois-headquartered integrated healthcare, pharmacy, and retailing company WBA has recently partnered with Pearl Health, a pioneering tech platform for primary care physicians within value-based care setups.
The collaborative endeavor aims to enable community-based primary care practitioners to oversee value-based care within ACO Reach, Medicare’s accountable care scheme. Beginning in 2024, the objective is to broaden the initiative to encompass Medicare Advantage, potentially including commercial payers and Medicare in the future.
Should this partnership flourish, WBA could reap substantial benefits of wider retail opportunities and reduced reliance on fee-for-service volumes. Furthermore, WBA's offering of ancillary services, such as prescription fulfillment, medication adherence, immunizations, care gap closure, and diagnostic testing, complement this collaboration. They will also work alongside providers to aid patients transitioning from hospital environments to home-based recuperation.
As such, WBA strategically positions itself as the preferred ally for healthcare providers and systems eager to transition to value-based care and bolster community well-being. It will be worthwhile to monitor the speed at which this alliance progresses and its effects on patient referrals and hospital partnerships.
On September 12, WBA paid a quarterly dividend to its shareholders of 48 cents per share. It pays an annual dividend of $1.92 that yields 9.09% on the current market price, higher than the 4-year average dividend yield of 4.54%.
WBA’s revenue grew at CAGRs of 2.7% and 1.2% over the past three and five years, respectively. Its total assets grew at CAGRs of 4.5% and 7.1% in the same time frame.
WBA’s trailing-12-month asset turnover ratio of 1.42x is 56.4% higher than the industry average of 0.91x. Its trailing-12-month cash from operations of $1.30 billion is 158.4% higher than the $505 million industry average.
For the fiscal third quarter that ended May 31, 2023, WBA’s sales rose 8.6% year-over-year to $35.42 billion, with its U.S. Retail Pharmacy segment sales increasing 4.4% from the year-ago quarter to $27.90 billion. Its net earnings attributable to WBA and net earnings per share came at $118 million and $0.14, respectively.
As of May 31, 2023, WBA’s long-term debt stood at $8.84 billion, compared to $10.62 billion as of August 31, 2022.
Analysts expect WBA’s revenue for the fiscal first quarter ending November 2023 to increase 6% year-over-year to $35.38 billion. Its EPS is expected to come at $0.92 for the same quarter. The company surpassed the consensus revenue estimates in each of the trailing four quarters and EPS in three of the trailing four quarters.
Moreover, ownership data indicates institutional holders have made changes in WBA stock holding. Institutional holdings account for approximately 58.4% of WBA shares. Of the 1,315 institutional holders, 554 have increased their positions in the stock. Moreover, 83 institutions have taken new positions (3,286,184 shares), reflecting confidence in the company’s trajectory.
PET develops and supports a proprietary marketplace technology platform available as a website and mobile app that enables independent pet caregivers to connect with pet parents. It offers on-demand access to 5-star pet care, pet insurance options, premium pet products, and expert pet advice.
PET’s trailing-12-month gross profit and levered FCF margins of 74.79% and 41.37% are 111% and 712% higher than the industry averages of 35.45% and 5.09%, respectively. Its asset turnover ratio of 1.93x is 92.4% higher than the industry average of 1x.
For the fiscal second quarter that ended June 30, 2023, PET’s sales rose 55% year-over-year to $19.82 million. Its adjusted EBITDA stood at $107 thousand, compared to negative $875 thousand in the prior year quarter. Moreover, its cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash for the six months that ended June 30, 2023, stood at $ 24.79 million, up 916.9% year-over-year.
For the fiscal year 2023, PET expects its revenue from $80 million to $84 million.
Analysts expect PET’s revenue for the fiscal third quarter ending September 2023 to increase 27.5% year-over-year to $19.60 billion. The company surpassed the consensus revenue estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.
Changes have been observed concerning institutions' holdings of PET shares. Approximately 54.2% of PET shares are presently held by institutions. Of the 31 institutional holders, 12 have increased their positions in the stock. Moreover, five institutions have taken new positions (99,056 shares).
The escalating incidence of chronic diseases is boosting demand for healthcare products and medications, propelling growth in the retail pharmacy market. Increasing reliance from individuals for long-term medication management and disease-focused solutions on retail pharmacies underpins this growth momentum.
Technological advancements are expected to improve retail pharmacies' efficiency while attracting more consumers and facilitating market expansion. The global retail pharmacy is expected to reach $1.22 trillion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 7.1%.
Meanwhile, RAD finds itself in precarious financial straits. Fueled by the few earnings from its regular business operations, the company is grappling with a debt burden of approximately $3.30 billion as of June 3, 2023. With liabilities outstripping assets by roughly $1 billion and only around $135 million cash-in-hand, RAD is at a financial crossroads.
The most viable solution appears to be filing for bankruptcy, enabling management to restructure their debt portfolio and possibly address any pending opioid settlements within one unified process.
Nevertheless, given the industry tailwinds, RAD’s competitors – WMT, WBA, and PET, stand to benefit.