SUPERVALU's 2Q Results Exceed Upper End Of Wall Street Range

SUPERVALU INC. on Thursday announced results for the second quarter of fiscal 2002, which ended September 8, 2001. The company reported sales for the second quarter of $4.7 billion, net earnings of $52.1 million, earnings per share of $0.39 and cash earnings per share of $0.46.

Jeff Noddle, SUPERVALU's president and CEO said, "We are very pleased with our results in the second quarter. Our above consensus results reflect improved execution across the company. We delivered an improvement in our retail comparable sales, putting us one quarter ahead of our previous projections. We also smoothly exited the Kmart business while maintaining high productivity levels and delivering expected reductions in working capital."

Noddle continued, "As we look at the remainder of the year, we believe that our fiscal 2002 earnings per share range can be tightened to $1.75 to $1.80 from the previous range of $1.70 to $1.80 per share. As a key player in this nation's food supply chain, we operate within a relatively stable sector noted for solid cash generation. Our position as the number one extreme value grocery chain with our Save-A-Lot format and our ability to provide supply chain expertise for our logistics customers in the important food channel provide an excellent foundation for future growth. Our preliminary earnings per share outlook for fiscal 2003 is $1.85 to $2.00. We are committed to our growth objectives and believe we have set in place a number of activities and strategic initiatives to deliver upon them."

In the second quarter, retail sales were $2.2 billion. This reflects slightly positive comparable sales and new store growth, led by Save-A-Lot. Since the prior year's second quarter, the company added 78 Save-A-Lot stores in addition to 10 price superstores. Sales growth in the quarter was impacted by the previously announced exit of non-core markets and underperforming stores earlier in the year. Comparable sales for the quarter improved against last quarter and last year. This represents more than a 150 basis point improvement in comparable sales since the first quarter. New store activity during the quarter resulted in 18 store openings including four company-operated and 11 licensed Save-A-Lot stores, two price superstores, and one conventional supermarket.

As of September 8, 2001 SUPERVALU operated a total of 1,194 stores, including licensed locations, in 37 states. At quarter end, SUPERVALU operated 933 Save-A-Lot limited assortment stores, including 744 licensed Save-A-Lot locations; 198 price superstores under the Cub Foods, Shop 'n Save, Shoppers Food Warehouse, Metro and bigg's banners; and 63 other supermarkets, including Farm Fresh, Scott's Foods, and Hornbacher's stores.

SUPERVALU's food distribution business reported sales of $2.6 billion in the second quarter. Sales performance in the quarter primarily reflected the cessation of supply services to Kmart.
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