Grocery wholesaler Nash Finch Co. on Thursday reported a 62 percent decline in quarterly earnings over a year ago, pinched by thinner profits in its military distribution business.

The Edina-based company posted first-quarter net income of $2.1 million, or 16 cents per share, down from $5.5 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago. Adjusted for one-time items, the story was similar: net income of $2.7 million, or 20 cents per share, in the first quarter, down from $6.2 million, or 47 cents per share.

Nash Finch’s stock closed at $20.20 Thursday, down $1.20 or 5.6 percent.

The company’s total first-quarter sales of $1.09 billion were up 2.3 percent over a year ago, boosted by the 2012 acquisitions of two Nebraska supermarket chains, No Frills and Bag ’N Save.

Nash Finch’s wholesale and retail supermarket business had quarterly sales of $562 million, up from $536 million a year ago. And the segment’s earnings before interest, depreciation and taxes rose 4 percent.

The story was different in Nash Finch’s military business, which distributes groceries to military bases. First-quarter sales of $532 million were flat compared with a year ago, while earnings before interest, depreciation and taxes tumbled 41 percent.

The company said the decline stemmed primarily from reduced margin rates on its contracts, combined with lower inflation and higher transportation costs.