Albertson's second-quarter profit rises 3 percent

Wednesday, September 7th 2005, 9:49 am
By: News On 6

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ Albertson's Inc., the nation's second-largest supermarket chain, said Wednesday its second-quarter earnings edged up 3 percent from last year, but the results failed to meet Wall Street's expectations.

However, the company, which last week said it was considering putting itself up for sale, reaffirmed guidance for the full year that was in line with analyst targets.

Second-quarter net income rose to $107 million, or 29 cents per share, from $104 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago. Earnings from continuing operations totaled $110 million, or 30 cents per share, down from $125 million, or 34 cents per share, last year.

Total sales grew to $10.19 billion from $10.17 billion a year ago, helped by a continuing recovery in Southern California but pressured by the continuing price cuts through the company's ``Check The Price'' program.

The results missed analysts' consensus forecast for profit of 34 cents per share on sales of $10.3 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Sales at stores open at least one year, or same-store sales, were flat for the quarter.

The company said it stayed on track to meet its $1.25 billion cost-reduction goal by the end of fiscal year 2006, recording $31 million in new cost reductions during the second quarter of 2005.

Albertson's reaffirmed its previous guidance for fiscal 2005 earnings of $1.37 to $1.47 per share from continuing operations, excluding items. The company also continues to forecast positive same-store sales.

On average, analysts are looking for full-year operating profit of $1.37 per share.