MINNEAPOLIS — SUPERVALU Inc. announced third quarter fiscal 2010 net earnings of $109 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, and net sales of $9.2 billion.

“I am pleased to report earnings in line with our expectations,” said Craig Herkert, chief executive officer and president. “Sales were softer than we had anticipated, but earnings per share, even before the impact from the Salt Lake City retail market exit, beat First Call consensus. Results largely reflect the benefit of stabilizing margins and better controls over expenses, two key areas of focus since my arrival.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2009, the company reported a loss of $2.9 billion, or $13.95 per diluted share, which included non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges of $3.3 billion pre-tax or $3.1 billion after-tax, or $14.57 per diluted share, and net sales of $10.2 billion.

Retail food net sales were $7.1 billion in the third quarter compared to $7.9 billion last year, a decline of 9.4%. This change primarily reflects the impact of negative 6.5% identical store sales, the Salt Lake City retail market exit and previously announced store closures.

Retail food operating earnings were $269 million in the third quarter, or 3.8% of net sales. Excluding the impact from the Salt Lake City retail market exit and previously announced store closures, retail food operating earnings in the third quarter were $251 million or 3.5% of net sales. In fiscal 2009, retail food operating loss was $2.9 billion which included $3.3 billion in pre-tax impairment charges.