Supervalu returns to 3Q profit on cost controls

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Grocery chain Supervalu says it returned to a fiscal third-quarter profit on tighter cost controls and improved profit margins.

The company, based in Minneapolis, has been hurt as consumers have traded down and bought fewer items. To draw them back in, the grocer recently said it would cut prices, reorganize operations and add more Save-A-Lot stores.

Supervalu, which also runs Albertsons and Jewel-Osco stores, earned $109 million, or 51 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with a loss of $2.94 billion last year, driven by writedowns.

Sales fell 9 percent to $9.22 billion.

Analysts forecast profit of 40 cents per share on revenue of $9.43 billion.

Supervalu still expects 2010 profit of $1.95 to $2.05 per share.