Rona Inc narrows loss to 166 million revenue down 82

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Rona Inc. (TSX:RON) said Tuesday it lost $16.6 million in its latest quarter and revenue slipped 8.2% compared with a year ago as it worked to cut costs and close underperforming stores.The hardware and building materials retailer said the loss amounted to 14 cents per share in the quarter ended March 30, compared with a loss of $36.1 million or 30 cents per share a year ago.Revenue fell to $764.3 million, down from $832.9 million as same-store sales dropped 4%.The retailer said sales were lower due to store closures, the harsh winter conditions and a slowdown in home construction which hurt sales of building materials at its Reno-Depot stores.On an adjusted basis, Rona said it lost $14.4 million or 12 cents per share for the quarter from continuing operations compared with a loss of $18.3 million or 15 cents per share a year ago.The earnings results matched the average analyst estimate, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.Analysts had cut their forecasts to reflect unfavourable weather and a continued challenging retail environment.Analyst Irene Nattel of RBC Capital Markets had said Rona’s revenues should remain under pressure because of modest consumer spending and forecasts for less residential spending in 2014.Rona launched a program last June to improve operating efficiency and deliver $110 million in total costs savings, some of which would be invested to improve its network. The company has a network of more than 530 corporate, franchised and affiliated stores of various sizes and formats across the country.