Rite Aid Corp. narrowed its net loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 to $83.9 million from a loss of $243.1 million in the same period a year ago, even as sales decreased a nominal 1.8 percent.

This story first appeared in the December 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The drugstore chain’s loss per diluted share came in at 10 cents, compared with 30 cents in the year-ago quarter. On average, Wall Street analysts had expected a loss of 18 cents per share.

Sales for the third quarter ended Nov. 28 were $6.35 billion, compared with $6.47 billion a year ago.

“Our results demonstrate the significant progress we’ve made to strengthen our company since last year’s third quarter,” stated Mary Sammons, chairman and chief executive officer of Rite Aid. “Liquidity at the end of the quarter more than doubled, and we’ve refinanced all of our 2010 debt maturities to give more time for our growth initiatives to work.”

Rite Aid’s fiscal year-to-date loss was $298.3 million, or 35 cents a share, versus $621.8 million, or 77 cents a share, in the same nine-month period a year ago. Sales slid 1.9 percent to $19.21 billion from $19.58 billion.

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