We got a glimpse of the problems earlier this month. Drugstore chain Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) revealed slow sales in early September, a troubling trend considering that its giant competitor Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) is seeing major growth via expansion and same-store sales success.

Yesterday's numbers give us a closer look at the shareholder trickle-down, and what's there ought to send investors to the antacid aisle. The top line came in at $4.1 billion. If you think that sounds pretty good, take a look further down. No, look past gross margin, which improved -- polite clap. No, past EBITDA, the low-carb version of shareholder rewards.

That's the spot: "Income attributable to common stockholders." $1.3 million. For the record, that's a net profit margin of 0.03%. Divide that into 517 million parts and you come up with close to zero, which was what investors got for each of their shares this quarter.

Don't get me wrong. Coming through a restructuring, Rite Aid is still making improvements. Interest expenses are down. It's paying back debt. It continues to close unprofitable locations. All good things, but. it's just that there's little left to come back to shareholders these days.

For the full year, management is looking for $0.16 to $0.22 per share on flattish sales. From a cash-flow perspective, the firm looks a little better. After glancing through the numbers, it looks like a plausible run rate for full-year free cash flow (FCF) is double the first half's $145 million. At today's prices, the enterprise is valued about 15 times the resulting $290 million.

Cheaper than the market, yes. But cheap enough for a slow grower with a heap of debt and competition from Walgreen, CVS (NYSE:CVS), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT)? Probably not.

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Seth Jayson fondly remembers his New York neighborhood Rite Aid stores, but at the time of publication, he had no position in any company mentioned.