Grocery retailer Supervalu reported a 1.8% rise in sales for the second quarter to $4bn, compared to $3.95bn reported in the same quarter last year.

The growth in sales was attributable to a 6.5% rise in identical store sales in the save-a-lot network and a 0.4% increase in the retail food segment.

Identical store sales for corporate stores within the Save-A-Lot network grew 8.2%.

Net sales for retail food grew to $1.10bn from $1.07bn, and save-a-lot net sales totaled $1.05bn, up 8% over last year.

The group’s profit for the second quarter declined from last year, despite sales growth, reflecting lower operating margins.

The Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based company reported net earnings of $31m for the second quarter, lower than $40m in the prior-year quarter.

Net earnings from continuing operations for the latest quarter was $32m, and adjusted earnings from continuing operations was $34m.

Supervalu president and CEO Sam Duncan said: "Midway through fiscal 2015, I am encouraged with the progress we have made across the business. The investments we have made at Save-A-Lot continue to drive sales and our Retail Food stores recorded their third consecutive quarter of positive identical store sales."

Meanwhile, independent business net sales declined 1.1% to $1.82bn, primarily due to lost accounts, including one New Albertson’s banner. The Independent Business consortium completed the Rainbow transactions.

"The addition of the Rainbow stores this past quarter is a positive for our Independent Business and we are encouraged by the early results," Duncan added.