Patterson Cos. missed analysts' expectations again for its second quarter.

The company earned $40.2 million, or 43 cents per share, for the quarter ended Oct. 31 compared with $45.8 million, or 48 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. The company's adjusted earnings per share, excluding some non-recurring items and deal amortization costs, was 51 cents; analysts were expecting a gain of 54 cents.

The Mendota Heights-based distributor of animal health and dental supply products reported revenue of $1.39 billion, a 2.3 percent drop from the same quarter a year ago and 2.6 percent less than the consensus estimates of 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

This is the fourth quarter in a row in which overall sales have decreased at Patterson and the fifth time in the last six quarters that earnings have dropped.

The company's animal health segment, which accounts for 60 percent of overall revenue, managed a 1.4 percent revenue gain in the quarter, but revenue from the dental segment dropped 8.4 percent compared with last year's second quarter.

On Oct. 24 the company named Mark Walchirk as its new president and CEO, and he started with the company on Nov. 20. He is in charge of turning around the declining trends.

Walchirk told analysts on the company's earnings call that he'd focus on operational excellence, employees and growth while doing an assessment of the company.

"There are a variety of ways to drive growth across the company," Walchirk told analysts.

Boosting earnings will be a challenge. The company announced that it has lowered its earnings guidance for the remainder of fiscal 2018. The company now expects GAAP earnings in the $1.67 to $1.77 per share range, and non-GAAP adjusted earnings of $2 to $2.10 per share. In the company's last fiscal year ended April 29, the company reported earnings of $1.79 per share, and adjusted earnings of $2.13 per share.

Shares of Patterson closed Tuesday at $34.80 per share, down 2 cents per share.