Supervalu reports earnings increase despite sales drop

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu on Wednesday reported a third-quarter drop of 4.7 percent in net sales of $10.2 billion, but record net earnings of $141 million show an increase of 25 percent compared to the year-ago period.

“Our third-quarter results continue to benefit from the transformational acquisition in 2006 as we deliver the sixth straight quarter of double-digit earnings per share growth,” stated Jeff Noddle, Supervalu chairman and chief executive officer. We are pleased with our overall results, despite some headwind from softer than expected retail sales in the quarter.”

Supervalu’s third quarter of fiscal 2008 ended Dec. 1, 2007, and included 12 weeks of combined results compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2007 which included 13 weeks of acquired operations. The estimated sales impact of one less week of acquired operations in the third quarter of fiscal 2008 is approximately $500 million.

In addition, third-quarter fiscal 2008 and third-quarter fiscal 2007 results included after-tax charges for one-time acquisition-related costs of $7 million and $10 million, respectively. When adjusting for the one-time acquisition costs in both years and the one extra week in the prior year quarter, diluted earnings per share increased 23 percent, the company stated.

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