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Slimmed down supermarket chain Supervalu beats estimates

(Reuters) - Supervalu Inc 's quarterly profit beat Wall Street estimates as the supermarket operator cut costs after selling more than half of its stores earlier this year.

The company's shares rose 6 percent in premarket trading after the company reported net income of $40 million, or 15 cents per share, in the quarter ended September 7. It lost $111 million, or 52 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding items, the company earned 13 cents per share.

Analysts on average had forecast a profit of 11 cents per share on revenue of $3.88 billion, according to Thomson Reuters

I/B/E/S.

Overall sales rose 0.2 percent to $3.95 billion, even after it sold nearly 900 supermarket to reduce debt and cut costs.

Supervalu has been losing customers to larger rivals such as Kroger and Wal-Mart Stores Inc , which sells more groceries than any other U.S. retailer.

Selling and administrative expenses fell 14 percent to $465 million in the second quarter, largely due to operating a much smaller company.

Its interest bill fell by a third, thanks to lower interest rates and paying off debt after the $3.3 billion asset sale earlier in the year.

Supervalu's operating margin was 2.8 percent, compared with minus 0.3 percent a year earlier.

Supervalu shares closed at $8.40 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Chris Peters and Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Maju Samuel and Rodney Joyce)

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