* 3rd-qtr adj. EPS from cont. ops $0.13
* Sales fall 0.9 pct to $4.01 bln vs est $4.05 bln
* Save-A-Lot same-store sales rise 5.4 pct
* Shares up 1 percent premarket
Jan 9 (Reuters) - Supervalu Inc’s quarterly net profit nearly doubled as the supermarket operator benefited from cost savings after selling hundreds of underperforming grocery stores last year.
Adjusted earnings from continuing operations for the company that runs supermarkets including Cub, Farm Fresh, Shop ‘N Save and Save-A-Lot met analysts’ expectations of 13 cents per share in the third quarter ended Nov. 30.
Net income rose to $31 million, or 12 cents per share, from $16 million, or 8 cents per share, a year earlier.
Gross margins expanded to 14.2 percent from 13.1 percent.
Revenue fell marginally to $4.01 billion, missing analysts’ average forecast of $4.05 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Supervalu, like larger rival Safeway Inc, has been battling market-share losses to rivals such as Kroger Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc and has abandoned some hotly competitive regional markets to cut costs.
Sales at its biggest wholesale grocery distribution business fell 3.7 percent to $1.91 billion, due to the loss of two large clients coupled with weak demand from customers including the military, the company said on Thursday.
Retail food business sales fell 2.6 percent to $1.06 billion, hurt by a 1.9 percent drop in identical-store sales.
Sales at its Save-A-Lot discount stores rose 2.6 percent, however, as identical store-sales rose 1.7 percent.
Minnesota-based Supervalu shares, which have more than doubled in value since the company announced the sale of 900 stores including its Albertsons chain about a year ago, were up 1 percent at $7.10 in premarket trading on Thursday. (Reporting by Siddharth Cavale In Bangalore and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Joyjeet Das)