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Rite Aid surprises in Q2, shares soar

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Shares of Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE:RAD) have jumped as much as 17% Thursday morning after the company surprised the market with a slight profit in the second quarter. 

The retail drugstore chain also raised its full-year earnings guidance based on unexpectedly strong first-half results. While it still predicts performance in fiscal 2014's second half to fall short of the first six months of the fiscal year, Rite Aid forecasts an adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2014 between $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, and net income in the range of $182.0 million to $268.0 million, or 18 cents a share to 27 cents a share, significantly higher than the mean Street guidance of 14 cents a share. 

Full-year sales are expected to be between $25.1 billion and $25.3 billion, in line with analyst expectations, while same-store sales will either fall or rise a half per cent.

In the past quarter, Rite Aid swung to a $32.8 million or three cents a share profit, compared to last year's second quarter net loss of $38.8 million or five cents a share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of four cents a share for the three-month period. 

The company's revenue edged up 0.8% to $6.3 billion from $6.2 billion in the same prior-year period as improvements in sales of stores open at least a year made up for store closures.

Same-store sales rose 1% on the strength of pharmacy sales, which offset a 0.3% decline in front-end sales. 

During the quarter, Rite Aid relocated five stores, remodeled 109 others, closed 12 stores and acquired another, resulting in a total store count of 4,604 at the end of August. 

The stock has been on a torrid pace this year, soaring 210%. 

Quick facts: Rite Aid

Price: 13.88 USD

NYSE:RAD
Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $758.17 m
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