UPDATE 2-Rite Aid posts smaller loss; same-store sales up
* Q4 loss 18 cents/share vs. Wall St view 14c/share loss
* Sales up 10.7 percent, helped by additional week in quarter
* Shares down 2.4 percent
April 12 (Reuters) - Rite Aid Corp posted a smaller quarterly loss, and the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain's sales at existing stores rose for the fifth consecutive quarter as some of its efforts to attract shoppers gained traction.
While Rite Aid is benefiting from a loyalty program, closing some stores and remodeling others, it continues to spend, and Thursday's results marked its 19th consecutive quarterly loss.
The company said its loss had narrowed to $161.3 million, or 18 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended March 3 from $205.7 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average forecast a loss of 14 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Rite Aid previously said sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, had risen 3 percent.
Total sales rose 10.7 percent to $7.15 billion, the company said on Thursday, helped by an additional week in the latest quarter.
For the current fiscal year, Rite Aid forecast a loss of 13 cents to 31 cents a share on sales or $25.4 billion to $25.8 billion. It forecast same-store sales to range from flat to up 1.5 percent.
Analysts on average forecast a loss of 25 cents a share.
Rite Aid shares were down 2.4 percent at $1.66 in premarket trading on Thursday.
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