Supervalu Swings to Q4 Loss But Stock Soars Tues.

Excluding one-time items related to store closures and layoffs, the grocer's net earnings totaled $81 million, or 38 cents per share-higher than the 35 cents per share predicted by Wall Street analysts.

Supervalu, Inc., swung to a loss in the fourth quarter as a result of one-time charges-but the Eden Prairie-based grocer's stock still soared Tuesday morning.

The company reported a net loss of $424 million, or $2 per share, for the quarter that ended February 25 due to impairment charges and costs related to store closures and layoffs. But excluding those items, Supervalu's net earnings totaled $81 million, or 38 cents per share-higher than the 35 cents per share predicted by Wall Street analysts.

In early morning trading, that news sent shares of Supervalu stock up 18 percent to $6.28. Mid-day, shares were still trading up about 11 percent.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $8.23 billion-down 5 percent from $8.66 billion for the prior fiscal year and lower than the $8.31 billion that analysts were expecting.

For the full fiscal 2012, Supervalu reported a net loss of $1 billion on net sales of $36.1 billion. Excluding one-time items, net income totaled $265 million, or $1.25 per share.

“I am pleased with the launch of our business transformation this year and the initial results from that strategy, which helped us deliver our adjusted earnings results of $1.25 for fiscal 2012,” Supervalu President and CEO Craig Herkert said in a statement. “Our disciplined approach to pre-funding price investments is allowing us to invest across markets, categories, and items.”

For fiscal 2013, Supervalu expects earnings per share that range between $1.27 and $1.42.

In recent months, Supervalu has been closing stores, cutting jobs, selling off some businesses, and lowering its debts in an effort to turn itself around. In February, the company announced plans to cut about 800 positions from its corporate and regional offices, including roughly 200 jobs in Minnesota. Supervalu said at the time that the cuts were part of an ongoing effort to reduce operating costs and ultimately provide more competitive pricing to Supervalu customers.

Supervalu is among Minnesota's five largest public companies based on revenue. It currently serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 4,300 stores. The company has about 130,000 employees.