Ex - Fred Meyer execs hope to save the faltering drug chain
Give the previous regime at Rite Aid Corp. some credit. Over a few years they assembled the nation's third-largest drug store chain, modernized hundreds of stores and built two state-of-the-art distribution centers.
They also overspent, according to a shareholder lawsuit and a new management team, and deployed accounting procedures that have become the focus of a federal investigation.
Now Robert Miller, the former Fred Meyer Corp. chief executive who became Rite Aid's CEO in December, is trying to straighten the mess. Miller's team has already refinanced much of the company's debt, agreed to sell off a subsidiary and presented restated earnings for 1998 and [1999 to Wall Street, delivering worse numbers than Miller had first expected.
The team's next task: turning the chain's network of 3,800 stores into a profitable operation.
"We plan to get a substantial payback from the capital spent in the last four years," said Miller, who recently admitted Rite Aid's troubles were greater than he had been led to expect before taking his job. "We'll focus on existing stores, many of …