Just the facts
SUPERVALU posted a loss for the fourth quarter and for the full year, as it had in the 2011 fiscal year. However, goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges took a big bite out of the company's profit, which came in at $265 million (or $1.25 per share) without the charges. Similar balance-sheet gimmickry cropped up in the 2011 fiscal year, which would have seen $296 million in earnings without a bundle of write-offs.
Operating cash flow topped $1 billion for each of the past two years, but the most recent report saw a slight drop, from $1.2 billion to $1.1 billion. Higher capital expenditures easily account for the discrepancy, which isn't a bad thing -- bigger, better, and more supermarkets should be a net positive for SUPERVALU over the long run.
Here are the basic trends in SUPERVALU's top and bottom lines over the past few quarters:
Sources: Morningstar and SUPERVALU earnings release.
Where do we go from here?
It's worth noting that Foolish special-situations analyst Jim Royal is bullish on SUPERVALU and has remained so through its doldrums. He notes that SUPERVALU trails both Kroger
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Fool contributor Alex Planes holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter, @TMFBiggles, for more news and insights. The Motley Fool owns shares of SUPERVALU. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Whole Foods Market and buying calls on SUPERVALU. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.