Rite Aid (RAD) - Get Report swung into the red for its third quarter and lowered expectations for fiscal 2005.

The drugstore chain said Thursday that it posted a loss of $7.7 million, or 1 cent a share, down from a profit of $73.6 million, or 12 cents a share, for the same quarter last year. The decline was attributed to smaller gross margins, a $20.2 million loss on debt modifications and a drop in tax benefits.

Wall Street analysts were forecasting Rite Aid would break even for the quarter, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue was flat for the quarter at $4.1 billion, while same-store sales, at stores open at least a year, rose 0.2%. Pharmacy same-store sales added 0.1% while front-end same-store sales were up 0.3%. Prescription sales accounted for 64.3% of total sales, and third party prescription sales represented 93.4% of pharmacy sales.

The company said it now expects 2005 earnings of 3 cents to 12 cents a share, down from its previous forecast of 16 cents and 22 cents a share. Also, it expects same-store sales up 1.2% to 2.1%, less than its previous estimate of a 2.75% to 3.25%.

Rite Aid shares were recently down 10 cents, or 2.9%, to $3.36.