US grocery retailer Supervalu has reported a rise in quarterly net earnings, and said it is well positioned for continued success.

The company posted net earnings of US$64.9m, or 48 cents per share, for the third quarter to 4 December, compared to $48.6m, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Net sales were $4.6bn compared to $4.7bn last year.

"We achieved record third quarter performance in both reported net earnings and reported earnings per share even inclusive of the charges absorbed in the quarter. I am pleased with the strong operating performance achieved in both our retail and distribution businesses," said Jeff Noddle, chairman and chief executive officer.

The company issued earnings per share guidance for the fiscal year ending 26 February 2005 of $2.75 to $2.80. The fiscal 2005 guidance reflects an expected fourth quarter earnings per share range of $0.61 to $0.66.