Supervalu Earnings Down But Better Than Wall Street Expected

Today, Supervalu, Inc. posted first quarter net earnings of $43 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, versus $85 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, for the period a year earlier.  Net earnings from continuing operations were $48 million versus a loss of $102 million in the year-earlier quarter while adjusted earnings for the last-completed period were $50, or 18 cents per diluted share.

Earnings per diluted share edged a Thomson Reuters average analyst estimate.

First quarter net sales were $5.23 billion versus $5.24 billion in the year-ago period. Identical store sales in the Save-A-Lot network were up 5.6%, while idents for corporate stores within the Save-A-Lot network were up 7.2%. Idents in the Retail Food segment advanced 0.6%. Total sales in the Independent Business segment decreased 2.6% and fees earned under a Transition Services Agreements in the first quarter were $58 million versus $84 million lastå≈ year.

“Fiscal 2015 is off to a solid start across our business segments,” said president and CEO Sam Duncan in announcing financial performance. “Our first quarter results reflect the investments we are making this year to position the company for future success, and I am pleased with our operating performance.”

Save-A-Lot net sales were $1.35 billion in the first quarter versus $1.27 billion in last year’s period, while operating earnings were $46 million, or 3.4% of net sales. In the year-ago period, Save-A-Lot operating earnings were $52 million, or 4.1% of net sales, and included $5 million in pre-tax asset impairment charges and employee severance costs. The company attributed the decrease in Save-A-Lot adjusted operating earnings primarily to incremental investments to lower prices offset in part by the benefits of cost reduction initiatives and higher sales volumes.

First quarter Retail Food net sales were flat at $1.43 billion year over year. Retail Food operating earnings were $30 million, or 2.1% of net sales, versus $7 million, or 0.4% of sales, in last year’s quarter, which included $18 million in pre-tax asset impairment charges, employee severance costs, and accelerated stock-based compensation charges. Supervalu said gains in Retail Food adjusted operating earnings derived from benefits from cost reduction initiatives and lower depreciation expense partly offset by incremental investment to lower prices.