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MINNEAPOLIS-SuperValu is reducing its store renovations to focus on improving in-store experiences, the company said at its fourth quarter conference call. Meanwhile, store closings in the light of the Albertson’s acquisition, should slow down.

Capital spending is projected to be approximately $750 million. Plans call for 75 to 80 major store remodels, down from 161 last year, said Jeff Noddle, chairman and CEO. In addition, the company will complete 30 to 40 minor remodels, and open three new traditional supermarkets and 50 to 60 new limited assortment stores, including 35 licensed stores. The company also completed 17 minor remodels and opened 14 new traditional stores and 25 new limited assortment corporate stores.

“We ended up closing more stores than we anticipated, primarily on the West Coast,” Noddle said. “We finally think we’re in the latter stages of that and can focus on our stores and returns.” Other acquisitions, however, are not out of the question. “There will always be acquisitions,” Noddle said.

For the quarter, net sales were $10.8 billion versus sales of $10.4 billion last year. Identical-store sales declined 1.2% and the company reported a net loss of $201 million, compared with earnings of $156 million in the year-ago quarter.

For fiscal 2009, the company reported net sales of $44.6 billion versus sales of $44 billion in 2008. The chain posted a net loss of $2.9 billion versus earnings of $593 million last year. SuperValu operates 2,421 supermarkets, including 862 licensed locations, across the Untied States.

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