Albertsons announced today that a steeper than expected sales decline, which accelerated toward the end of the third quarter, would likely cause third quarter profits to be 5-10% below current guidance. 

Albertsons is now expecting fiscal third-quarter earnings of 47 cents to 49 cents per share, compared with the current Thomson First Call estimate of 52 cents per share.

The company also expects third-quarter same-store sales to be 2% lower than for the same period last year.

Albertsons’ chairman and CEO Larry Johnston said that the poor sales figures were due to escalating competitive activity and declining consumer confidence.

Albertsons now expects full-year earnings from continuing operations, adjusted for goodwill amortisation, of US$2.10 to $2.14 a share, down from previous guidance of $2.31 a share.