Supervalu’s turnaround hit a curb Wednesday with a deflating second-quarter earnings release. Sales and earnings both missed analyst expectations. The company’s sales were $4.06 billion compared with a consensus estimate of $4.12 billion, and adjusted earnings for the quarter were $37 million, or 13 cents a share, a penny below consensus expectations.

The Eden Prairie-based company operates a wholesale division; a traditional grocery store division that includes Cub stores in the Twin Cities and four other regional supermarket chains; and discount grocery chain Sav-A-Lot.

Analysts see Supervalu’s Save-A-Lot as having the greatest growth opportunity. But same-store sales in that segment were down 1.9 percent, which grabbed their attention.

“Strategic options for Save-A-Lot look to be critical to the story here, but management failed to provide any update,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Edward Kelly. “We continue to rate the stock neutral as a clear path for growth in any of the segments is difficult to envision.”

Pivotal Research Group analyst Ajay Jain was a little more optimistic in his investor note and maintained a buy rating.

“By any measure, Supervalu’s 2Q results and outlook for 2016 were disappointing,” Jain wrote. “However, we also believe the stock may be going through a bottoming out period.”

Patrick Kennedy

Study: Start-ups prefer invented names

Analysts at Clutch, a business research firm in Washington, recently did a study of 700 company names. Half were founded before 2012 and now on the Inc. 500. The other half were start-up companies from the CrunchBase database that were founded after 2012 and had received a minimum of $3 million in venture funding in 2015.

The research paper categorized company names four ways: descriptive, experiential, evocative and invented.

Among start-ups, analysts discovered “there is a clear movement toward creating more invented types of names and toward resourceful combinations of words for new company names.”

More than 40 percent of the start-ups had an invented name, compared with 17 percent of the Inc. 500 companies. More than 50 percent of the more mature companies chose a descriptive company name, compared with just 16 percent of the start-up companies.

The study concluded that there were some practical reasons for many naming trends including trademark and domain name availability. While more top-level domains become available, 88 percent of the start-ups had a dot-com domain extension.

Patrick Kennedy