Drugstore chain Rite Aid hikes fiscal 2015 forecast, tops 3Q profit and revenue expectations

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CAMP HILL, Pennsylvania — Shares of Rite Aid soared Thursday after the nation's third-largest drugstore chain reported a 47 percent jump in fiscal third-quarter earnings and hiked its annual forecast after cutting it for two straight quarters.

The Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, company said sales from established stores helped its revenue grow 5 percent in the quarter that ended last month, and earnings advanced despite a higher loss from debt retirement.

Rite Aid now expects fiscal 2015 earnings of between 31 cents and 37 cents per share on $26.25 billion to $26.4 billion in revenue.

In September, the company had forecast 22 cents to 33 cents per share on revenue of between $26 billion and $26.3 billion.

Analysts expect, on average, 30 cents per share on $26.43 billion in revenue, according to a survey by FactSet.

For the fiscal third quarter, Rite Aid earned $104.8 million, or 10 cents per share, on $6.69 billion in revenue.

The results trumped average Wall Street expectations for earnings of 5 cents per share on $6.64 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment research.

In last year's quarter, the company earned $71.5 million, or 4 cents per share, on $6.36 billion in revenue.

Rite Aid ran 4,572 stores at the end of the quarter, a total that trails only Walgreen Co. and CVS Health Corp. Rite Aid said sales from stores open at least a year climbed 5.4 percent compared to last year's fiscal third quarter. That was led by a 7.2 percent increase from the pharmacy, where Rite Aid stores draw most of their revenue.

This is an important metric for retailers because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

Rite Aid Corp. shares jumped 65 cents, or 10.7 percent, to 46.71 in morning trading Thursday. The stock had already climbed 20 percent so far this year, as of Wednesday's close.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. RAD stock research report from Zacks.

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Keywords:Rite Aid,Earnings Report

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