MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Wednesday said it would close 50 struggling stores by next month and slash its capital budget for the coming fiscal year, as it continues to adjust to a rough economy.
The news came as the retailer here reported a loss of $2.9 billion for the fiscal third quarter, which ended Nov. 29, impacted by a non-cash charge of $3.3 billion to reconcile the company’s book value to its beleaguered stock price. Excluding the adjustment, earnings were slightly above expectations at $132 million on flat sales of $10.1 billion. Identical-store sales were down by 0.5%, officials said.
These results — along with a forecast calling for additional debt repayment for fiscal 2010 — helped Supervalu stock gain by more than 8% Wednesday.
Jeff Noddle, Supervalu’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the chain would close 50 “nonstrategic” stores during the current quarter, which ends Feb. 28. He said the stores slated for closure would be spread throughout the company, and although heavier in certain regions, would not include any geographical market exits. Supervalu in addition will make companywide administrative staff reductions in the current quarter. It expects to incur charges of between $150 million and $200 million in the fourth quarter related to these actions.
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