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Rite Aid posts third straight quarterly profit

A Rite Aid sign is seen outside one of their stores in New York, April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Rite Aid sign is seen outside one of their stores in New York, April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - Rite Aid Corp , the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain, posted its third consecutive quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by sales of higher-margin generic drugs.

The company earned $89.7 million, or 9 cents per share, in the fiscal first quarter ended June 1, versus a loss of $28 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 2.7 percent to $6.29 billion, largely because it sold more generic drugs, which are less expensive but more profitable, and as it closed stores. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.5 percent in the quarter.

Rite Aid, which trails Walgreen Co and CVS Caremark Corp in size, has been remodeling stores and emphasizing its loyalty program to attract customers.

Fiscal 2013, which ended March 2, was its first profitable year since fiscal 2007, and it expects to be profitable again in the current year.

Rite Aid reaffirmed its sales and profit forecast from earlier this month.

Rite Aid shares have more than tripled since hitting a 52-week low in December. They closed at $3.11 on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York and Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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