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    Supervalu Q3 Net Sales Down

    Same-store sales down 16th straight quarter

    Supervalu Inc. reported net sales of $8.3 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2012, down from $8.7 billion a year ago, and a net loss of $750 million, versus $202 million for the year-ago period.

    The Minneapolis-based grocer further reported same-store sales down nearly 3 percent for the quarter, marking 16 straight quarters of negative performance for that benchmark.

    Supervalu continued to execute on its business transformation this quarter and remains on plan with its ‘8 Plays to Win’ strategy,” said Craig Herkert, Supervalu’s president and CEO. “Even with the ongoing difficult economic environment and pressured consumer, we continued to make progress against our plan, allowing us to invest in price to deliver everyday value and hyper local choices that meet the needs of our customers in the diverse neighborhoods we serve.”

    Adjusted Q3 2012 net earnings were $50 million, or 24 cents per diluted share. Retail food net sales were $6.3 billion, compared to $6.6 billion last year, reflecting the drop in same-store sales and previously announced market exits. Q3 independent business net sales were $2 billion compared to $2.1 billion last year, a decrease of 5.4 percent, primarily attributed to Target’s transition to self-distribution and the divestiture of Total Logistic Control.

    The Q3 retail food operating loss was $759 million. Adjusted retail food operating earnings were $148 million, or 2.3 percent of net sales; last year’s adjusted earnings were $146 million, or 2.2 percent of net sales. Year-to-date capital expenditures were $412 million, compared to $454 million for the same period last year.

    Supervalu’s full-year earnings guidance is now a loss of $2.58 to $2.48 per diluted share; excluding Q3 goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges, full-year earnings guidance is $1.20 to $1.30 per diluted share. “As we enter the last quarter of fiscal 2012, I am pleased to affirm our full-year adjusted earnings guidance,” Herkert said. “The tools we have implemented are beginning to improve retail execution and position us to deliver greater value to our customers in fiscal 2013.”

    The company’s 2012 guidance assumes estimated FY net sales of $36.1 billion and same-store sales growth, excluding fuel, of negative 2.5 percent to negative 3.0 percent. Capital spending is projected to be as high as $725 million, including up to 90 store remodels and up to 60 new Save-A-Lot stores.

    Supervalu Inc. operates 4,300 stores composed of 1,104 traditional retail stores, including 798 in-store pharmacies; 1,309 hard-discount stores, of which 922 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business.

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