Eden Prairie-based grocery wholesaler and retailer Supervalu has reported a 16% increase in this year's second quarter earnings.

In the fiscal quarter ending 7 September, the company earned US$58.8m, an increase from the year earlier value of $50.6m. This corresponds to 44 cents a share for this fiscal year's Q2, compared to 38 cents a share for the same period last year.

Sales decreased from $4.76bn to $4.50bn, a drop of almost 5%.

For the first half of the company's fiscal year 2002/2003, Supervalu earnings increased by 26% to $136.0m, or $1.00 a share, from $107.5m, or 81 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales decreased by 11% from $11.65bn to $10.34bn.

Supervalu has a large retail network including Save-A-Lot, Cub Foods, Shop 'n Save, Shoppers Food Warehouse, Metro, bigg's, Farm Fresh, Scott's Foods, Hornbacher's grocery stores and Deals-Nothing Over a Dollar general merchandise stores. Supervalu also supplies groceries to over 4,430 retail outlets across the country.