US supermarket chain Albertsons has reported a slight rise in net earnings for the second quarter to 4 August and said it was still "aggressively" running the company despite last week's announcement that it is exploring a possible sale of the company.

The company reported net earnings of US$107m, or $0.29 per share, compared to net earnings of $104m, or $0.28 per share, for last year's second quarter.

During the second quarter, total sales reached $10.2bn, just slightly higher than last year's second quarter revenue. Revenue was helped by a continuing recovery in Southern California but was pressured by the deflationary impact of continuing price cuts through the company's "Check The Price" programme. The company said it continued to make investments in improving its price positioning versus non-traditional price competitors during the quarter. Comparable store sales were flat for the quarter and identical store sales fell slightly by 0.1%.

The company said it is moving even more aggressively to divest underperforming, non-core assets in order to allow it to focus more intently on its growing core asset base.

"The announcement Friday that we are exploring our strategic alternatives including a possible sale of the company is important," said chairman, CEO and president Larry Johnston.

"At the same time, I want to be clear that while we are going through this process we will also be aggressively running this company and continuing to execute on the same strategy that we unveiled when the turnaround began over four years ago," he added.

The company reaffirmed its previous guidance for fiscal year 2005 earnings of between $1.37 and $1.47 per diluted share from continuing operations excluding any extraordinary events, and also reaffirmed its outlook for positive comparable and identical store sales for fiscal year 2005.