Supervalu to report 4Q results Tuesday

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By The Associated Press, Associated Press

Supervalu Inc. is expected to report its fourth-quarter results Tuesday and investors will be looking for any signs of good news from the struggling supermarket chain.

The company, which operates Albertsons, Jewel-Osco and other chains, has been trying to turn its business around for more than two years. It has closed stores, cut jobs, sold off some businesses and lowered its debts. It also is trying to emphasize its discount chains and it aims to tailor each store to suit the needs of its neighborhood.

Supervalu says it's still working on its recovery, but investors seem to have lost hope. Since July 2007, its stock has fallen almost 90 percent: Down from nearly $50, it closed Monday at $5.32. Even including a 19-cent rise Monday, that was more than 50 percent lower than it was trading in early May 2011.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Karen Short said that drop reflects market's low expectations.

Short said in a research note that she hopes the fourth quarter, which began in early December, was a low point and the company shows Tuesday that its sales and other key financial trends are improving.

Analysts expect the company to report that its adjusted fourth-quarter profit fell to 35 cents per share from 44 cents per share a year earlier, and that its revenue was $8.14 billion, down from $8.66 billion, according to FactSet.

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