Continued sales momentum at its Save-A-Lot division helped Supervalu post fourth-quarter sales and earnings at the high end of analyst estimates, according to financial results released Tuesday.
For the 13-week quarter, which ended Feb. 28, Supervalu reported net earnings of $36 million — $66 million when adjusted for refinancing and other charges — on sales of $4.4 billion. Sales from continuing operations increased by 10.4% from the 12-week fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. Adjusted for the extra week, sales improved by 2.5%.
Save-A-Lot saw its sales improve 13.7% to $1.1 billion — up by 6% when adjusted for the extra week, with comparable store sales up by 3.5%. Profits in that division also increased as a result of reduced promotional investments, the company said.
The retail food division, which includes legacy banners Shoppers Food Warehouse, Farm Fresh, Cub, Hornbacher’s and Shop n’ Save, saw sales increase 2.5% adjusted for the extra week, and posted a 1.1% increase in comparable sales. A more profitable sales mix and reduced logistics costs helped gross profits in the division improve to 15.1% of sales from 14.9% in last year’s fourth quarter.
Independent retail sales of $2 billion decreased by 0.5% when adjusted for the extra week, primarily due to customer losses.
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For the fiscal year Minneapolis-based Supervalu reported sales of $17.8 billion.
“We finished the year with a strong quarter, highlighted by positive identical store sales at both Save-A-Lot and retail food as well as the transition of the first stores in our important new relationship with Haggen,” Supervalu president and CEO Sam Duncan said in a statement. “Overall, fiscal 2015 was a year of strategic investment in all three of our business segments and I’m pleased with how these investments have positioned us for growth in fiscal 2016.”
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