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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