UPDATE 1-Supervalu reports wider loss on weak sales
April 24 (Reuters) - Supermarket operator Supervalu Inc , trying to slim down its business, on Wednesday reported a wider quarterly loss mainly on weak sales at its retail food segment.
The company blamed competitive pressures in certain markets and reduced promotional spending for the weakness in the unit that includes its Save-A-Lot stores, lower-price superstores and traditional supermarkets.
The company, which recently sold nearly 900 supermarkets in a $3.3 billion deal, said its fourth-quarter loss from continuing operations widened to $179 million, or 85 cents a share, from $42 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding charges related to noncash asset impairment and employee severance, the company posted a loss of 14 cents a share. Analysts, on average, looked for a profit of 18 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales fell 2.3 percent to $3.89 billion.
Supervalu sold its Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Star Market stores as well as Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacies to an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management LP on March 21. The deal for 877 stores included $100 million in cash and $3.2 billion in debt.
Supervalu's top rivals include Kroger Co, Safeway Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
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