Longs Drug Stores

(LDG)

posted four-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat analysts' estimates and said it expects to beat expectations in the first quarter.

The drug store chain reported net income of $23.4 million, or 63 cents a share, excluding charges. Five analysts queried by

First Call/Thomson Financial

had pegged Longs to earn 56 cents a share. In the year-ago period, the company earned $23.9 million, or 61 cents a share.

Longs reported sales of $1.1 billion in the quarter, up from $1.05 billion in the year-ago period.

In the current fiscal year, Longs, which is based in Walnut Creek, Calif., expects earnings in the first quarter to be between 34 cents and 37 cents a share. The First Call estimate is 33 cents a share. The company earned 31 cents in the year-ago period.

During regular trading Wednesday on the

New York Stock Exchange

, Longs lost 16 cents, or 0.6%, to close at $27.90.