Last Updated: 2008-01-03 9:30:51 -0400 (Reuters Health)

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Rite Aid Corp on Thursday posted a 0.5 percent decline in sales at stores open at least a year as the drugstore chain was hurt by a flat prescription business and lower sales of general merchandise.

Prescription sales were hurt by new generic drugs, which tend to be more profitable for drugstores but cut into sales figures.

Same-store sales of general merchandise, or "front-end" same-store sales, fell 1.2 percent from the year-earlier period. (Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)