Identical-store sales from Supervalus Save-a-Lot banner were up 3.5% in Q4

Identical-store sales from Supervalu's Save-a-Lot banner were up 3.5% in Q4

Shares in Supervalu Inc jumped today (23 April) after the US grocer reported fourth-quarter sales and adjusted earnings that came in higher than Wall Street expected.

Net earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 were US$40m, or $0.15 per diluted share.

The result included charges mostly linked toemployee severance and debt financing activities.

When adjusted for these items, fourth-quarter net earnings from continuing operations were $48m, or $0.18 per diluted share.

Fourth-quarter net sales hit $3.95bn, up 1.4% on a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast Supervalu would post earnings per share of US$0.15 and net sales of $3.9bn. 

The fourth-quarter profit compared with a loss from continuing operations of $25m in last year's fourth quarter.

Supervalu's results for the full year compared favourably to 2012/13. It made a net profit of $182m. Last year, it ran up a net loss of $1.47bn amid impairment charges and costs from store closures.

That year had ended with Supervalu selling off five chains to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in a bid to cut costs and revitalise a business that endured a run of poor annual results.

"Fiscal 2014 was an important transition year for Supervalu as we stabilised the organisation and set the foundation for our future," president and CEO Sam Duncan said. "I am pleased with the direction of our business segments and look forward to the new fiscal year where we can focus our attention on driving sales growth across the organisation."