Stock Market Today: Family Dollar's Layoffs and Rite Aid's Confidence

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost a modest 17 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a lower start to the stock market today. Stocks could take a breather after logging their biggest daily gain in over a month yesterday. Still, Rite Aid , Family Dollar , and Pier 1 Imports were all on the move in pre-market trading after posting quarterly earnings results.

Rite Aid this morning beat Wall Street earnings estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Revenue improved by 2% to $6.6 billion and profit clocked in at $0.06 a share. Analysts had expected 1% sales growth and profit of $0.04 a share. The retailer saw a solid boost in prescription sales, which helped push comparable-store sales higher by 2.1%. Probably the best news for investors, though, is the company's outlook for this year: Rite Aid expects its wellness store remodels to drive annual sales to as high as $26.5 billion, delivering profit of roughly $0.36 a share. Both of those figures were above the current forecasts from Wall Street analysts. Rite Aid's stock was up nearly 11% in pre-market trading.

Family Dollar this morning posted weak quarterly earnings results in which sales shrunk to $2.7 billion from last year's $2.9 billion haul. Profit fell even harder, as the retailer booked just $0.80 a share in earnings against the $0.90 that analysts expected. While Family Dollar was hit with the same issues that crimped all retailers over the holidays, namely a very promotional environment and some extreme winter weather, CEO Howard Levine said in a press release that the company was "not satisfied with our results." Family Dollar announced that it is making major changes aimed at recovering its momentum, including layoffs, price cuts, and the closing of 370 underperforming locations. The stock was down 0.1% in pre-market trading.

Finally, Pier 1 Imports today said that sales in its fiscal fourth quarter fell by 6% to $515 million. That weak revenue result was just what Wall Street expected, and it was partly due to having fewer selling days in the quarter compared to last year. Profit shrunk to $0.41 a share from $0.60 in the same period of 2013, also as expected. Looking behind those headline numbers, the decorative home furnishings retailer had a rough quarter: comparable-store sales rose by just 0.6% and profit plummeted from 46.2% of sales to 41.6% as prices were cut to keep customer traffic levels up. Still, Pier 1 Imports thinks its e-commerce strategy will start paying dividends in the coming year, helping lift comparable-store sales by more than 5%. The stock was up 1.5% in pre-market trading.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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