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SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE: SVU) today reported third quarter fiscal 2013 net sales of $7.9 billion compared to $8.3 billion last year. Net earnings for the third quarter totaled $16 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, including a $26 million after-tax gain related to a cash settlement received from credit card companies which was partially offset by $15 million in net after-tax charges primarily related to previously announced store closures. In the third quarter of fiscal 2012, the Company reported a net loss of $750 million, or $3.54 per diluted share, including non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges of $800 million after-tax, or $3.78 per diluted share. When adjusted for these items, third quarter fiscal 2013 net earnings were $5 million, or $0.03 per diluted share compared to third quarter fiscal 2012 net earnings of $50 million or $0.24 per diluted share. [See table 1 for a reconciliation of GAAP and non-GAAP (adjusted) results appearing in this release]. Third quarter net cash flows used in operating activities were $57 million compared to $61 million last year, reflecting the Company’s historically higher inventory levels at the end of the third quarter.
Third Quarter Results
Third quarter net sales were $7.9 billion compared to $8.3 billion last year, a decline of 5.0 percent. The decrease in net sales primarily reflects a decline in identical store sales of negative 4.5 percent for Retail Food and negative 4.1 percent for Save-A-Lot network identical store sales, the disposition of a majority of the Company’s retail fuel centers which contributed $112 million in sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2012, and the impact of previously announced store closures. Identical store sales were influenced by the stressed consumer, the competitive environment, and continued investment in achieving competitive pricing.
Gross profit margin for the third quarter was $1.68 billion, or 21.2 percent of net sales, compared to $1.81 billion or 21.7 percent of net sales last year. The decrease in gross margin as a percent of net sales reflects the negative rate impact from additional promotional activity, an increased level of continued investment in competitive pricing, and a change in business mix which was partially offset by the rate benefit from lower fuel sales (approximately 20 basis points), a lower LIFO charge, and the favorable impact of higher generic drug sales in the Company’s pharmacies.