Rite Aid Foresees Bigger Loss in 2010

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rite Aid ( RAD) missed fourth-quarter expectations and announced that it expects a bigger loss than Wall Street forsees in 2010, news that sent shares tumbling in early-morning trading.

During the quarter, the drug store lost $208.4 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.3 billion, or $2.67 a share, for Rite Aid in the year-ago period. Analysts were calling for a loss of 19 cents a share.
Rite Aid

This marks Rite Aid's 11th consecutive quarterly loss.

Last year's Rite Aid results were weighed down by a $1.81 billion write-down.

Rite Aid's revenue dropped 4% to $6.46 billion, while same-store sales sank 2.4%.

>> Who Owns Rite Aid?: Appaloosa Management

"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," CEO Mary Sammons said in a statement.

The company also said March same-store sales slipped 0.1%, with front-end sales up 1.8%, but pharmacy comparable sales down 1%.

Looking ahead, Rite Aid forecasts full-year sales of between $25.2 billion and $25.6 billion. It also forsees a loss of between 41 cents and 65 cents a share, worse than analysts' estimates of a loss of 36 cents a share.

"The recovery in retail is not transfering to Rite Aid," says Toon van Beeck, analyst at IBISWorld. "This does not look good for the company going forward."

Shares of Rite Aid are down 3% to $1.64 in morning trading.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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