Supervalu, the third-largest US supermarket chain, said today (9 January) that its third quarter earnings increased by almost 51% on the back of its Albertsons acquisition.

The supermarket operator said earnings increased from US$75m, or $0.53 per share, during the third quarter of last year to $113m, or $0.54 per share, this year. Results for the quarter are in line with previously provided EPS guidance of $0.52-56.

The group's revenue more than doubled, increasing to $10.66bn up from $4.7bn reported for the year-ago period.

Supervalu's ESP included charges of $0.05 per share associated with the Albertson's purchase and $0.02 per share for special hybrid securities issued by the company.

Jeff Noddle, Supervalu chairman and chief executive officer said: "We are seeing great progress on many fronts, including double-digit earnings per share growth when adjusted for charges. When including the acquired operations, we also saw improvement in our identical store sales in the quarter and progress in our remodeling programme.

"In addition, we are pleased to announce today the fiscal 2008 capital programme of approximately $1.2bn, supporting our commitment to invest heavily in Supervalu's retail fleet primarily through new stores and remodels, bringing innovative new features to many of our stores across the country."

The company maintained its fourth-quarter guidance of EPS ranging between $0.59 and $0.66.