US retailer SuperValu posted a slight net sales decrease to US$5.8bn in the 2007 first quarter.

The company’s net earnings stood at $87m compared to $91m last year, and basic earnings per share were at $0.59 compared to $0.67 last year, include net after-tax charges of approximately $9 million, or $0.06 per basic share and $0.06 per diluted share, primarily due to one-time transaction costs.

During the first quarter, the company completed its $12.4bn acquisition of Albertsons’ premier retail properties, with the addition of more than 1,100 stores.

The first quarter does not include operating results of the acquired operations but includes the acquired operations’ balance sheet with preliminary purchase accounting and one-time transaction costs.

Supervalu chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Noddle said: “We are off to a great start following our transformational acquisition in June. The financial results of the new Supervalu will continue to emerge over the remainder of the year. We are confident that the benefits of the acquisition of Albertsons’ premier retail properties will be evident.

“The first quarter of fiscal 2007, which primarily reflects standalone Supervalu prior to the impact of the newly acquired Albertsons operations, was on track with our expectations. We delivered a strong quarter even when absorbing $0.05 of stock option expense and $0.06 of one-time transaction costs.”

The company’s board of directors have authorised the company to repurchase up to 10m shares of Supervalu common stock to offset stock option exercises by former Albertsons employees, subsequent to the acquisition.

Supervalu’s fiscal 2007 outlook said that consumer spending will continue to be pressured by higher fuel prices and modest food inflation, and total sales are estimated in a range of approximately $37.4bn to $38.0bn.

Identical store sales for the combined retail network, as if the newly acquired operations were in the store base for more than a year, are projected to be flat for the remainder of the year, with the acquired operations slightly positive.