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Hurricanes Hit Albertson's Profit

Third-quarter sales are unchanged, and earnings fall from a year ago.
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Supermarket and drugstore owner



said fiscal third-quarter sales were little changed from a year ago, but the effects of the recent hurricanes on the Gulf Coast pushed profits lower.

For the third quarter ended Nov. 3, Albertson's sales totaled $9.95 billion, compared with $9.97 billion a year ago. The Idaho-based operator of stores such as Acme and Sav-on Drugs earned $77 million, or 21 cents a share, in the third quarter, vs. $110 million, or 29 cents a share, last year.

Albertson's, which is considering the possiblity of selling itself, had earnings from continuing operations of $81 million, or 22 cents a share. Excluding costs related to the Gulf Coast hurricanes, profits from continuing operations would have been $91 million, or 24 cents a share, 3 cents lower than Wall Street was projecting.

The company revised its previous fiscal 2006 continuing operations earnings guidance of between $1.37 and $1.47 a share to a range of $1.37 to $1.40, excluding any items.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call are expecting earnings of $1.31 for the fiscal year. Albertson's shares were gaining 15 cents to $24.81.