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Supervalu turnaround shows signs of promise


For a while there, Minnesota-based Supervalu seemed bruised like an old banana, beset by sinking stock prices and debt.

But seven months into an overhaul, Wall Street is slowly buying a turnaround story, the Pioneer Press reports, noting that the company's share price has risen from a mere $2 to about $8.

CEO Sam Duncan on a call with analysts Thursday said the store still has a lot of improvements to make at Supervalu's 191 supermarketss, including its 66 Cub Foods stores in Minnesota. But some are under way, from uncluttering crowded aisles and upgrading the meat department to "getting our banana program absolutely correct," the Pioneer Press reports.

The Eden Prairie-based grocer has shrunk to half its size from a year ago, after five of its regional chains – Jewel-Osco, Albertson's, Acme, Shaw's and Star Market – were sold early this year in a kind of last-ditch effort to unload debt and save the company.

Supervalu has had a hard time keeping up with competitors, including dollar stores, drugstores and mass-market retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as they expand grocery operations, the Wall Street Journal noted.

But Thursday's second-quarter earnings report had some peachy news: the company earned $40 million, which compares to a $111 million loss a year earlier, the Star Tribune reported.

“While our end goal won’t be achieved overnight, I am encouraged with our results this quarter,” Duncan said in a statement.

Duncan joined the company in January and Supervalu assembled an all-new leadership team through the second quarter of the year, the Business Journal noted.

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