• Swings to Q4 loss but adjusted EPS beats Wall St forecasts
  • Underlying retail operating earnings fall; ID sales lower
  • CEO and president Herkert upbeat
Supervalu, which runs the Acme chain, reported drop in retail food operating income

Supervalu, which runs the Acme chain, reported drop in retail food operating income

Shares in Supervalu Inc rose today (10 April) despite the US retailer reporting a loss for the last three months of its financial year, as underlying earnings beat forecasts.

Supervalu's shares were up 3.7% at US$5.32 at 09:22 ET after the company booked adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.38, which excluded goodwill and asset impairment charges, as well as employee-related costs, for the fourth quarter to 25 February.

According to Thomson Reuters, Wall Street analysts had issued a consensus forecast of $0.35.

Supervalu reported a fourth-quarter loss of $424m, compared to net earnings of $95m a year earlier.

The company also reported a retail food operating loss of $335m, which included $540m in charges. A year earlier, Supervalu made a fourth-quarter retail operating profit of $131m. Excluding charges in both years, Supervalu's retail operating earnings fell 13.1% to $205m on the back of lower sales, the company's decision to invest in price and increased investment in advertising.

Fourth-quarter retail food net sales fell from $6.7bn to $6.4bn. Identical-store sales were down 1.9%.

Supervalu is reorganising its operations after a challenging two years. CEO and president Craig Herkert was upbeat about the company's performance and prospects.

"I am pleased with the launch of our business transformation this year and the initial results from that strategy which helped us deliver our adjusted earnings results of $1.25 for fiscal 2012. Our disciplined approach to pre-funding price investments is allowing us to invest across markets, categories and items. We remain focused on delivering improved value for our customers and meeting the specific needs of each community we serve," Herkert said.

Supervalu is forecasting adjusting earnings per share of $1.27-1.42 for its new financial year.

Click here for the full announcement from Supervalu.