Supervalu’s stock was hammered Thursday for the second consecutive day after a weak earnings report was followed by critical reviews from Wall Street analysts.
Shares of Eden Prairie-based Supervalu closed Thursday at $4.60, down 48 cents or about 9.5 percent. On Wednesday, Supervalu’s stock plunged 15 percent after it reported a 2.6 percent drop in third-quarter revenue, its weakest sales performance since CEO Sam Duncan took over in February 2013.
The company’s shares, which were over $10 in April 2015, are now trading at levels last seen in April 2013.
Karen Short, a stock analyst at Deutsche Bank, downgraded Supervalu’s stock from “buy” to “hold,” lowering her price target from $8 to $6.
“We believe [Supervalu’s] risk profile and lack of visibility on the top line have increased significantly,” she wrote in a report. All three of Supervalu’s business segments face “shaky fundamentals.”
While Supervalu’s third-quarter profits met analysts’ expectations, sales dropped in all three divisions: food wholesaling, conventional supermarkets and Save-A-Lot, the company’s discount grocery chain.
Cub Foods, the Twin Cities’ largest grocer, is one of five regional conventional supermarket chains owned by Supervalu.
The U.S. grocery business is facing “fairly significant negative forces, including slack demand, little to no inflation and rising costs, which is particularly challenging for smaller and mid-sized companies that … are trying to turn around a business that had been previously mismanaged,” Scott Mushkin, an analyst at Wolfe Research, wrote in a report Thursday,
“The current [Supervalu] team is facing both of these challenges and has been working very hard to overcome them, but the business is clearly struggling,” he wrote.
Supervalu was struggling mightily in January 2013 when it sold its five largest grocery chains, halving the size of the company. Duncan became its CEO soon thereafter and had been leading a turnaround that has lost traction over the past half year.