Rite Aid Corp. reported fiscal third-quarter earnings that fell to $15.0 million, or 1 cent a share, from $59.5 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The drugstore chain, which is being acquired by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. , said adjusted earnings per share, which excluded non-recurring items, was 2 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 4 cents. Revenue slipped to $8.09 billion from $8.15 billion, missing the FactSet consensus of $8.23 billion. Same-store sales fell 3.4%, as pharmacy sales fell 4.7% and front-end sales declined 0.4%. "Despite the difficult operating environment created by the extended duration of the merger process with [Walgreens], our third quarter results show solid performance in our front-end business, good cost control and continued strong growth at our pharmacy benefit manager, EnvisionRx," said Chief Executive John Standley. The stock, which slipped 0.2% in premarket trade, has gained 8% year to date, while Walgreens shares have tacked on 0.8% and the S&P 500 had climbed 11%.
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