Rite Aid Corp. (RAD: Quote) on Thursday posted a significantly narrower net loss in its fourth quarter, mainly benefiting from continued growth in same store sales and an extra week in the quarter. The loss was wider than estimated by analysts, while top line beat their view. Reporting a narrower loss in its fiscal 2012, the Drugstore chain operator expects to reduce its net loss in its fiscal 2013 on higher sales estimate.
Rite Aid President and CEO John Standley said, "We made strong progress in fiscal year 2012 and feel positive about our improved business results, highlighted by same store sales and Adjusted EBITDA increases for the fifth consecutive quarter... While there is still hard work ahead, I am pleased we are beginning our new fiscal year with positive momentum."
For its fourth quarter, net loss attributable to common stockholders narrowed to $163.81 million or $0.18 per share from prior year's loss of $208.11 million or $0.24 per share.
On average, 6 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected loss per share of $0.14 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
The latest quarter results reflected a $0.14 per share LIFO charge, a loss on debt modification charge, and a lower gain on sale of assets compared to last year's fourth quarter.
The Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based company's quarterly revenues grew 10.7 percent to $7.15 billion from last year's $6.46 billion, while analysts expected $6.98 billion revenues.
The company attributed the sales growth mainly to the additional week in fiscal 2012 and an increase in same store sales, partially offset by store closings.
Fourth-quarter same store sales increased 3 percent, consisting of a 1.6 percent growth in the front end and a 3.8 percent rise in the pharmacy. Pharmacy sales included an approximate 216 basis point negative impact from new generic introductions.
The number of prescriptions filled in same stores increased 2.4 percent.
In the quarter, adjusted EBITDA grew to $274.3 million or 3.8 percent of revenues from $215.4 million or 3.3 percent of revenues a year ago.
Looking ahead for fiscal 2013, the company sees net loss between $103 million and $267 million or a loss per share of $0.13 to $0.31, while analysts anticipate loss of $0.25 per share. In addition, Rite Aid estimates fiscal 2013 sales to be between $25.4 billion and $25.8 billion with same-stores sales expected to range from flat to an increase of 1.5 percent over fiscal 2012, whereas analysts project sales of $25.74 billion for the year.
This is in comparison to fiscal 2012 net loss of $378.59 million or $0.43 per share, revenues of $26.12 billion, and a 2 percent growth in same store sales.
Adjusted EBITDA for the year is expected to be between $925 million and $1.025 billion.
According to the company, the forecast reflects the current same store front end sales and prescription count trends. The company projects a reduction in pharmacy sales due to new generic introductions, partly offset by benefit of a decrease in the number of pharmacies in the Express Scripts pharmacy benefit management network.
RAD shares are currently trading at $1.71 in pre-market activity, up $0.01 or 0.59 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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