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rite aid to close up to 117 more stores

Rite Aid to shut as many as 117 stores after wider loss
The drugstore chain operator says the closures will be scattered across the U.S. The firm's red ink more than doubled in the fiscal fourth quarter to $2.3 billion.
Associated Press
April 3, 2009

New York -- Rite Aid Corp. is planning to shut down as many as 117 stores over the next year as it tries to cut costs after the drugstore operator's loss more than doubled in the fiscal fourth quarter.

The Camp Hill, Pa., company said the closings would be scattered around the country, targeting stores with weak sales and those that are close to another Rite Aid.

Rite Aid said its fourth-quarter results were hurt by the recession, a fairly mild flu season and the introduction of new low-cost generic drugs.

Rite Aid had 4,901 stores in 31 states at the end of February. The retailer plans 20 store openings and 55 relocations in fiscal 2010, which ends Feb. 28.

Rite Aid closed 200 stores in fiscal 2008.

In the fiscal fourth quarter, Rite Aid reported a loss of $2.3 billion, or $2.67 a share. It lost $960.4 million, or $1.20, a year earlier. Because of the plunging value of its stock, the company wrote down the value of its assets by $1.81 billion.

Excluding the write-downs and other one-time costs, Rite Aid lost $116.9 million, or 14 cents a share. Revenue fell 2% to $6.71 billion. On that basis, Thomson Reuters says analysts expected a loss of 11 cents a share on sales of $6.71 billion.

Rite Aid shares rose 6 cents, or 15.4%, to 45 cents.

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