Rite Aid Posts Wider-Than-Expected Loss

Customers walk around the exterior of the Rite Aid in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005. Rite Aid Corp. reported a second-quarter loss that reversed gains from a year ago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster

Rite Aid, the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain, reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss Thursday, and cut its full-year outlook citing current sales trends, pushing its shares down nearly 5 percent in premarket trading.

Its net loss was $69.6 million, or 10 cents a share, in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $330,000, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 6 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Acquisition-related costs offset an increase in sales, Rite Aid said.

Rite Aid bought the U.S. Brooks and Eckerd drugstore chains from Canada's Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc on June 4, just after the end of its fiscal first quarter.

The acquisition resulted in costs including a $65.2 million increase in depreciation and amortization, and integration expenses of $52.1 million, Rite Aid said.

Revenue rose nearly 54 percent to $6.6 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.1 percent in the period.

For the full year, Rite Aid expects a loss of $78 million and $161 million, or 15 cents to 27 cents a share. It had previously forecast a net loss between $47 million and $129 million, or 11 cents to 23 cents a share.

It expects sales in the range of $24.5 billion and $25.1 billion for the full year, down from its previous outlook of between $25.3 billion and $26 billion.

Analysts expect a loss of 12 cents a share on sales of $25.4 billion.

Rite Aid forecast same-store sales, excluding acquired stores, to increase between 1.3 percent and 3.3 percent. Previously, it had expected an increase of 3.8 to 5.8 percent.

It expects $200 million in acquisition-related costs savings in the year, up from its earlier estimate of $155 million.

In the next fiscal year, it expects the acquisition to add 12 cents to 14 cents a share to earnings. Rite Aid shares were down 4.95 percent at $4.80 in premarket trading.

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