Supervalu (SVU) shares were socked Tuesday after the grocer lowered its profit targets for the fiscal year, noting weaker sales and customer headwinds.

Shares -- which already were trading near 52-week lows ahead of the news -- recently were down $4.91, or 14%, to $29.38.

The Minneapolis-based company said it now expects fiscal 2008 earnings of $2.91 to $2.97 a share, before one-time acquisition related costs. That's down from its prior forecast for earnings of $2.93 to $3.03 a share.

Supervalu also lowered its sales view, projecting same-store growth of 0.5% to 1%. In October, it projected sales growth at the low end of a 1% to 2% range.

The company said its outlook reflects assumptions that consumer spending will continue to be pressured by inflation -- an issue that has slammed supermarket operators as they face higher food costs that must be passed on to customers.

For the third quarter ended Dec. 1, Supervalu's profit rose to $141 million, or 66 cents a share, from $113 million, or 54 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, anticipated earnings of 63 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

Sales slipped to $10.21 billion from $10.66 billion the prior year. Wall Street expected a top line of $10.17 billion.

Retail sales fell to $7.86 billion from $8.41 billion a year earlier, which the company said was softer than its expectation. Identical-store sales inched up 0.5%, excluding fuel.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

More from Stocks

Danica Patrick's Final Race at 2018 Indianapolis 500: What She Thinks About Cars

Danica Patrick's Final Race at 2018 Indianapolis 500: What She Thinks About Cars

Why the FANG Stocks' Dominance May Not Be So Bad for the Market

Why the FANG Stocks' Dominance May Not Be So Bad for the Market

At End of May, Investors Signalling They May Stay Away

At End of May, Investors Signalling They May Stay Away

Inside Carnival's Mind Blowing New Horizon Cruise Ship (Video)

Inside Carnival's Mind Blowing New Horizon Cruise Ship (Video)

Neel Kashkari: The Heart of Our Financial System Is More Radioactive Than Ever

Neel Kashkari: The Heart of Our Financial System Is More Radioactive Than Ever