Grocery retailer Supervalu has reported record results for the third quarter of the financial year ending 3 December 2005.

The company reported net sales of US$4.7bn compared to US$4.6bn the previous year and net earnings of US$75.2m compared to US$64.9m. Basic earnings per share were at US$0.55 compared to US$0.48 previously and diluted earnings per share at US$0.53 compared to US$0.46.

Supervalu chairman and CEO Jeff Noddle said: “We delivered record earnings performance in the quarter on improved sales across both business segments. At the same time, we continue to invest in exciting new initiatives such as produce, supply chain technology, and the launch of a new natural and organic retail format. We are confident that these programs lay the groundwork for long term success.”

The results included net after tax charges of approximately US$6.4m, or US$0.04 per diluted share, with last year’s third quarter results including charges of approximately US$12.8m or US$0.09 per diluted share.

For the first 40 weeks of the financial year, the company reported net sales of US$15.2bn compared to US$15.0bn last year, net earnings of US$200.2m compared to US$292.9m last year, basic earnings per share of US$1.47 compared to US$2.17 last year, and diluted earnings per share of US$1.41 compared to US$2.06 last year.

Supervalu’s financial outlook for basic earnings per share is in the range of US$1.98 to US$2.03 and diluted earnings per share range of US$1.89 to US$1.94. The company’s outlook makes the assumption, among others, that additional costs associated with the plan to sell its Pittsburgh stores in the fourth quarter will be approximately US$0.05 per diluted share.