How SUPERVALU Lost in Q3

SUPERVALU Inc. (NYSE: SVU) reported its fiscal third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company posted $0.05 in earnings per share (EPS) and $3.00 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters called for $0.13 in EPS and revenue of $3.79 billion. In the same period of last year, the specialty retailer said it had EPS of $0.16 and $4.11 billion in revenue.

Early in the quarter, the company used the majority of the proceeds from the sale of Save-A-Lot to reduce its outstanding debt by roughly $1.1 billion. Management has also taken steps to reduce the company’s pension plan obligations through a successful lump-sum buyout of certain plan participants that resulted in the pension settlement charge this quarter. Additionally, SUPERVALU made a $25 million cash contribution to the pension plan.

For the third quarter, pro forma adjusted EBITDA was $114 million, $18 million less than in last year’s third quarter, reflecting the challenging operating environment across the grocery industry.

In terms of its business segments, the company reported:

  • The Wholesale segment made up 63.5% of total revenues at $1.91 billion.
  • The Retail segment made up 35.3% of total revenues at $1.06 billion.
  • The Corporate segment made up 1.2% of total revenues at $37 million.

Fiscal 2017 year-to-date net cash flows provided by operating activities of continuing operations were $147 million, compared to $154 million last year, reflecting lower earnings. On the books, SUPERVALU’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $47 million at the end of the quarter, versus $42 million at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Mark Gross, president and CEO, commented:

The successful sale of Save-A-Lot early in the fourth quarter provides SUPERVALU with additional flexibility to operate and grow our business. Additionally, our Wholesale team has done a tremendous job delivering for our customers. It is a significant accomplishment that we increased Wholesale sales compared to last year given the sales lost at the end of fiscal 2016. Unfortunately, in our Retail segment we have not been able to overcome persistent deflation, competitive impacts, and other factors. It takes time to change customers’ shopping habits, but our team is dedicated to improving our results.

Shares of SUPERVALU traded down 7.4% to $4.43 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $6.00 and a 52-week trading range of $3.94 to $6.17.