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Leading grocery chain Supervalu Inc. (SVU - Analyst Report) has started offering flu vaccines to its customers at its pharmacy locations. They also have trained pharmacists at the stores who are also responsible for administering the vaccines.

Traditional flu vaccines, needle-free FluMist nasal spray, Fluzone Intradermal and the Fluzone HD for patients aged 65 and above will be available at stores of Supervalu Pharmacies. The shots will be administered at regular pharmacy hours on a walk-in or an appointment basis.

Supervalu Pharmacies has 800 locations spread across 25 states and operates under 10 retail brands, namely, Acme Sav-on Pharmacy, Albertsons Sav-on Pharmacy, Albertsons Osco Pharmacy, Cub Pharmacy, Farm Fresh Pharmacy, Jewel-Osco Pharmacy, Shaw’s Osco Pharmacy, Shop ‘n Save Pharmacy, Shop ‘n Save Osco Pharmacy and Shoppers Pharmacy.

Supervalu Pharmacies has been offering adult immunizations since 2000. Apart from administering flu vaccines, Supervalu pharmacy locations also provide immunizations for influenza, pneumococcal disease, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, cervical cancer, shingles and meningococcal meningitis.

The retail chain also provides travel vaccine clinics where customers are immunized if they are traveling to other nations.

The vaccination program is expected to boost  the second quarter fiscal 2013 sales. The vaccination program is expected to gain popularity as it is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

First Quarter Results

The company delivered poor first quarter fiscal 2013 earnings per share of 19 cents, sharply lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 38 cents and the prior-year quarter earnings of 35 cents a share.

The lower-than-expected results were due to the disappointing same-store sales during the quarter coupled with disposition of several fuel centers owned by the company.

Revamp Initiatives

The company has undertaken several initiatives like ‘fair price plus promotion strategy,’ cost-reduction program, reduction of capital expenditures and also decided to suspend the quarterly dividend in order to be at par with its competitors, have financial flexibility as well as to have a strong balance sheet.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at 16 cents for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 and 66 cents for fiscal 2013.

Supervalu, along with its subsidiaries, operates retail and wholesale food stores in the United States and has its headquarter in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The company faces stiff competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report), The Kroger Co. (KR - Analyst Report) and Safeway Inc. (SWY - Analyst Report).

Currently, Supervalu carries a Zacks #4 Rank (short-term Sell rating).

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