(By Balachander) Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE:RAD) reported a narrower loss for the first quarter boosted by same store sales growth, gross margin improvement and an income tax benefit.
Yet the drugstore chain reduced its sales forecast for 2013, citing negative impact from new generic launches and its shares fell 1.71 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.
The Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based company lost 3 cents a share, compared with a loss of 7 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.
Revenue rose 1.2 percent to $6.47 billion and same store sales gained 2.5 percent.
Analysts, on average, expected loss per share of 3 cents on revenue of $6.43 billion for the first quarter.
Looking ahead for fiscal 2013, the company now expects loss per share in the range of 13 cents to 29 cents from prior expectations of loss of 13 cents to 31 cents. Sales are currently projected to be between $25.3 billion and $25.7 billion from $25.4 billion to $25.8 billion projected earlier. Analysts expect RAD to lose 20 cents a share on sales of $25.5 billion.
Rite Aid now forecasts same store sales to range from a decline of 0.5 percent to a 1.0 percent rise. It earlier expected same stores sales to range from flat to 1.5 percent growth over fiscal 2012.
The company's updated outlook reflects roughly 600 basis points reduction in pharmacy same store sales from new generic introductions.
RAD shares, which have been trading between $0.85 and $2.12 over the past year, closed Wednesday's regular trading at $1.17.