Petco Animal Supplies ( PETC) Tuesday held to its previous first-quarter earnings guidance and also said it had agreed to acquire 20 retail locations from Office Depot ( ODP) as part of its expansion plan.

The company said it still expects to earn 24 cents to 25 cents a share in the current quarter, with same-store sales up 5% to 6% during the period. Analysts' consensus estimate is for 24 cents a share, according to Thomson One Analytics.

Separately, Petco said it will pay $45 million for 20 former Toys R Us ( TOY) locations, which will boost its new store count for 2004 to about 90. The acquisition will dilute 2004 earnings up to 3 cents a share, but add 2 cents a share to earnings beginning in 2005, the company said. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2004.

"While our long-term goal of 10% annual growth in square footage provides for many years of sustainable quality growth for PETCO, strategic opportunities such as this further enable us to acquire great locations and bolster our presence in key markets," the company said in a statement.

The 20 stores -- located in seven states -- are part of 124 Kids R Us properties Office Depot agreed to purchase March 3. The chain's parent company Toys R Us is shutting down the children's clothing unit, as part of a restructuring.

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