Natalie Parkinson
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Rite Aid beats profit view, but sales miss

Rite Aid Corp. said despite a same-store sales decline, its fourth-quarter revenue rose 21% on its acquisition of a pharmacy-benefit manager.

The third-largest drugstore chain agreed to merge into No. 1 Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. in a $17.2 billion agreement struck in late October. Accordingly, Rite Aid said it wouldn't provide guidance for its just started fiscal year. The company said it expects the deal, which is undergoing antitrust scrutiny, to close in the second half of the year.

Same-store sales decreased 0.6% from last year, with a 0.8% decrease pharmacy sales and a 0.4% decrease in front-end sales. Pharmacy sales were dented by new generic introductions, but the number of prescriptions filled increased 0.1%.

Rite Aid reported a profit of $65.6 million, or 6 cents a share, down from $1.84 billion, or $1.79 cents a share, a year prior. The previous year's profit benefited from a $1.68 billion income-tax benefit. Excluding that and other items, adjusted earnings per share rose to 7 cents from 6 cents a year prior.

Revenue jumped 21% to $8.27 billion, but its retail pharmacy segment saw a 0.3% decline to $6.83 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 6 cents on $8.4 billion in revenue.

Will shares of the company fall today?