Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Supervalu’s shopper woes

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Check Out Supervalu’s troubles from consumer thrift.USA-COSTCO/

The third-largest  U.S. supermarket operator, with about 2,500 stores, said that its earnings in the first quarter, which ended on June 20, were hurt by a “tougher than expected business environment.” Its results would be much below analysts’ expectations, the grocer said.

“Since providing guidance on our fourth quarter earnings call, consumers have become more value focused and cautious in their spending, which has pressured sales and margins greater than anticipated,” Supervalu’s CEO Craig Herkert said in a statement.

The pressure on Supervalu underscores how consumers have become highly conscious of how they spend their money in the long recession — shopping mainly for essential items, and seeking low prices even on those products.

Herkert recently took over the top job at Supervalu, after having worked as the president and CEO for discount giant Wal-Mart’s America’s region, which includes Canada, Puerto Rico and parts of South and Central America.

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