SUPERVALU will release its quarterly report on Thursday, and investors are increasingly optimistic that the grocery-store chain has finally turned the corner, and is poised for a rebound. Although the company is much smaller after having divested itself of several of its biggest chains, SUPERVALU nevertheless has the potential to remain profitable.

Hard-hit shareholders have been waiting for good times to come, after having dealt with consistent share-price losses and the suspension of SUPERVALU's dividend. Yet, the grocery industry has some promising prospects for growth. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with SUPERVALU over the past quarter, and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on SUPERVALU

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.03

Change From Year-Ago EPS

(84%)

Revenue Estimate

$5.17 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

(51%)

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

0


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will SUPERVALU earnings finally measure up?
Analysts have continued to ratchet down their views on SUPERVALU earnings in recent months, having slashed their May-quarter estimates by two-thirds, and cut their calls for the current fiscal year almost in half. But the stock has been oblivious to those concerns, rising 28% since early April.

SUPERVALU has impressed investors lately with its turnaround story. With the company having sold off its Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's, and Star Market chains to Cerberus Capital last quarter, new CEO Sam Duncan gave a strong message that SUPERVALU intends to cut back on its cost structure to reflect its new smaller size. Investors cheered favorable prospects for the company's Save-A-Lot discount chain by bidding shares upward after the company's previous quarterly report in April.

One interesting battle that's playing out in the grocery industry is the collection of purchase data through loyalty cards. SUPERVALU and Kroger have both tried to flesh out and expand their loyalty systems in order to hold off competition from non-traditional competitors like big-box retail stores, and Safeway CEO Steve Burd said earlier this year that its shelf-pricing will be "irrelevant because we can be so personalized in what we offer people." Yet, taking the other side of the issue, in light of recent privacy concerns, former SUPERVALU chain Albertsons recently made the decision to drop its loyalty-card program, arguing that all it really needs is to track store-level sales rather than customer-specific purchases.

Still, SUPERVALU faces two major threats. One is the impact that healthy-food-focused Whole Foods has had on the industry, with its huge profit margins putting SUPERVALU and its peers to shame. Kroger has done a good job of using a combination of organic offerings and private-label branding to keep margins up, but in the midst of its strategic shifts, SUPERVALU arguably has too much on its plate to consider shaking up its product lineup, as well.

In SUPERVALU's earnings report, watch for the company to report on the status of its cost-cutting measures, and to explain how it intends to move forward with new initiatives to improve its competitive position. Unless the company can demonstrate its ability to grow, then all the gains in its stock could disappear quickly.

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Click here to add SUPERVALU to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

The article The Key to Growth for SUPERVALU Earnings originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool owns shares of Supervalu and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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msherer260

Supervalu gets pie in the face for what the Albertson's new owners are doing, sales are going up in most areas, it is simple, the majority of day to day customers do not like the CARD, in fact you can be sure a lot of new customers are the very customers that walked out years ago rather the fill out some application for a card (something a lot of customers will not do).

July 17 2013 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply