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Rite Aid cuts loss, but misses target


Camp Hill, Pa. Rite Aid Corp. said Wednesday it cut its fourth-quarter loss compared with a year ago, when it took a $1.81 billion write-down. However, shares slid in pre-market trading after Rite Aid forecast weaker-than-expected results for the current year.

The drug store chain lost $210.6 million in three months ended Feb. 27, compared with $2.3 billion a year ago. Revenue fell 4% to $6.46 billion, from $6.71 billion as the company continued to close stores. Same-store sales fell 2.4%.

Analysts expected a smaller loss and revenue of $6.49 billion.

“It was a difficult quarter with continued weak consumer demand, a weaker cough, cold and flu season than last year and continued pressure on pharmacy reimbursement," said chairwoman and CEO Mary Sammons.

Rite Aid said it made smaller profits on sales of new generic drugs and lower reimbursement rates.

The company has closed almost 300 stores over the last two years, including 22 during the fourth quarter. It operated 4,777 as of March 27, 2009.

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