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Supervalu swings to profit in Q4, outlook below Street


Eden Prairie, Minn. Supervalu reported Tuesday that it returned to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit, but that its 2011 earnings outlook fell below analysts’ expectations.

The operator of Albertsons, Save-A-Lot and other stores, which has been in the throes of an aggressive turnaround involving new leadership, cost cuts and a focus on lower prices, earned $97 million in the quarter ended Feb. 27, compared with a loss of $201 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue for the period fell 15% to $9.21 billion. Last year's fourth quarter included an extra week, which boosted sales by about $800 million.

Same-store sales dropped 6.8%.

For the year, the grocer posted a profit of $393 million, compared with a loss of $2.86 billion a year ago. Annual revenue declined to $40.6 billion from $44.56 billion.

In related news, the company also announced Tuesday that it has made changes to the size and composition of its board of directors, reducing its current board membership from 15 to 12 directors, adding two new board directors and naming a non-executive chairman. Five long-time board members are leaving the company, including the retiring chairman of the board and former CEO Jeff Noddle.

Supervalu has about 4,290 stores in the United States.

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