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Spartan Stores' Q3 a mixed bag

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Net sales for Spartan Stores slightly declined nearly 0.6% to $782.3 million during the third quarter.

During the quarter, which ended Jan. 1, Spartan also experienced a rise in operating earnings, which increased from $13.7 million in third quarter 2009 to $16.6 million. Third-quarter earnings from continuing operations improved 42% percent to $7.5 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, from $5.3 million, or 23 cents per diluted share.

The company's retail segment experienced a 1.8% decline in net sales to $435.4 million. In its distribution segment, Spartan said its net sales rose to $346.9 million from $343.6 million, thanks to an improvement in pharmacy-related sales.

Commenting on its third-quarter results, Spartan president and CEO, Dennis Eidson, said, “Although the Michigan economy appears to have stabilized, ... market conditions remain challenging. We will continue to work diligently to further improve our sales trends and manage controllable aspects of our business."