Driven by increased adjusted EBITDA and lower interest and
debt retirement expenses, the drugstore chain operator,
Rite Aid Corp.
) posted a quarterly profit for the third consecutive quarter.
The company's first-quarter fiscal 2014 earnings of 9 cents per
share fared better than the year-ago comparable quarter's loss of
This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company, which competes with
China Nepstar Chain Drugstore Ltd
), continues to benefit from 10 straight quarters of improved
adjusted EBITDA. Moreover, quarterly earnings were in line with
the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Rite Aid's first-quarter revenues of $6,293.1 million fell
2.7% compared with $6,468.3 million in the year-ago comparable
period. The decline in the top line was a result of the
introduction of low-cost generics in same-store pharmacy sales.
However, total revenue surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of
$6,272.0 million. Same-store sales were down 2.5% due to lower
pharmacy sales slightly offset by a rise in front-end sales.
During the quarter, front-end sales inched up 0.4%, while
pharmacy sales fell 3.8% due to the introduction of new generic
drugs that adversely affected sales by 458 basis points (bps).
Additionally, prescriptions filled at comparable stores dropped
0.1% from the year-ago quarter. Prescription sales constituted
about 67.5% of total drugstore sales, while third party
prescription revenues represented 97.0% of the pharmacy
Rite Aid's gross profit increased 4.1% year over year to
$1,821.0 million, with gross margin expanding 190 bps to 28.94%,
primarily driven by the launch of new generic drugs. Selling,
general and administrative expenses decreased 4.7% to $1,609.3
million while as a percentage of sales it contracted 53 bps to
25.57% primarily due to effective cost management.
Rite Aid reported adjusted EBITDA of $344.8 million, up 25.8%
from $274.2 million in the prior-year quarter. As a percentage of
sales, it improved 124 bps to 5.48%, gaining from higher pharmacy
gross margin driven by new generic introductions and improved
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
At quarter-end, Rite Aid had cash and cash equivalents of
$108.9 million and long-term debt (excluding current maturities)
of $5,778.7 million. The company ended the quarter with $1.142
billion of liquidity. Rite Aid had $542.0 million borrowing
outstanding under its $1.795 billion senior secured credit
facility while the company had $113 million of outstanding
letters of credit.
During the period, the company generated a cash flow of $184.4
million from operating activities, while it expended nearly $98.1
million (gross) toward capital expenditure. In fiscal 2014, the
company expects to incur capital expenditure of $400.0
Renovation in Rite Aid stores continue with the company
remodeling 108 outlets during the first quarter. Overall, the
company completed wellness remodels at about 905 stores as of the
quarter-end. As of Jun 1, 2013, Rite Aid operated about 4,615
Since the beginning of 2013, Rite Aid has been consistently
focusing on debt refinancing activities in order to extend the
maturity periods as well as lower the interest rates on its
existing debt instruments. It is expected that this strategic
move will extend the company's debt maturities to 2018 and
beyond, and simultaneously lower annual interest by $85.0
Fiscal 2014 Guidance
Rite Aid believes that the above-mentioned debt refinancing
activities will bear an impact on its fiscal 2014 financial
results and thereby, updated its forecasts for the period.
For fiscal 2014, the company raised its low-end adjusted
EBITDA guidance range to $1.090 billion from $1.075 billion, but
it kept its high-end guidance of $1.175 billion unchanged.
However, Rite Aid lowered its fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings
guidance. The company now expects adjusted net income in the
range of $22-$162 million or 1 cent to 16 cents per share,
compared with 4-19 cents forecasted earlier. Currently, the Zacks
Consensus Estimate stands at 17 cents per share.
However, Rite Aid, which trails only
CVS Caremark Corp.
) in size, continues to anticipate revenues for fiscal 2014 in
the range of $24.9-$25.3 billion, based on same-store sales
ranging from a decline of approximately 0.75% to an increase of
CVS CAREMARK CP (CVS): Free Stock Analysis
CHINA NEPSTAR (NPD): Free Stock Analysis
RITE AID CORP (RAD): Free Stock Analysis
WALGREEN CO (WAG): Free Stock Analysis Report
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