Regional US retailer Spartan Stores has booked a fall in quarterly earnings as the Michigan-based company suffers from a state seeing the highest unemployment in the country.

The company, which also distributes brands and own-label lines, said yesterday (3 February) that underlying net earnings stood at US$5m for its fiscal third quarter, which ran until 2 January. The result compared to $8.3m a year earlier.

EBITDA reached $26m - against last year's $29.7m - and came amid lower retail margins and as Spartan's comparable-store sales slid 6%.

"Michigan has experienced a slight loss in its population base and has also led the nation in unemployment for 45 consecutive months," said Spartan president and CEO Dennis Eidson.

"The state's unemployment rate for the reported quarter was approximately 15%. Consumers remain cautious in their spending behaviour, and we continued to experience price deflation."

Turnover rose from $781.9m a year ago to $786.9m this year, thanks in part to Spartan's acquisition of the VG food and pharmacy stores last year.