Rite Aid returns to profit, raises forecast

Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:38pm GMT

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Dec 20 (Reuters) - Rite Aid Corp reported its first quarterly profit in more than five years on Thursday, helped by growth in the number of prescriptions filled and higher comparable sales of general merchandise at its stores.

Shares rose 23 percent to $1.28 in premarket trading.

Rite Aid, the third largest U.S. drugstore chain, reported net income of $60.5 million, or 7 cents a share, in the third quarter ended Dec. 1, compared with a loss of $54.5 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier.

It last reported a profit in the quarter ended in May 2007.

The company raised its outlook for the fiscal year, and forecast from a net loss of 5 cents to a profit of 3 cents per share. In September, it had forecast a loss of between 9 cents and 23 cents.

Third-quarter revenue totaled $6.24 billion, down 1.1 percent, as the company has been closing some locations. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago and Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)