Second quarter net sales for Supervalu Inc. were up by almost 2% this year compared to 2013, with 8% sales growth at Save-A-Lot stores driving optimism among company officials.

That optimism is despite a $9 million drop in quarterly net earnings from continuing operations, from $40 million in 2013 to $31 million for the second quarter this year, Sam Duncan, CEO of the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu, said during an Oct. 16 conference call with investors and media.

“My expectations for the full year are still the same,” Duncan said. “Save-A-Lot hit several milestones in the quarter. Our corporate stores had their highest single week in history.”

Duncan said strong top-line growth for Save-A-Lot is being driven by fresh produce and meat departments.

Save-A-Lot net sales, were up from $972 million in the second quarter last year to $1.05 billion this year. The company reported an increase of 8.2% in positive identical store sales growth for its corporate Save-A-Lot stores, and a 6.5% increase across the network.

Duncan said Supervalu’s wholesale business is also in good shape, partly because of response to the company’s first Sales for All Seasons show this summer. It replaced three regional shows and Duncan said sales at the national event were 50% above the combined regional events.

“My overall vision for Supervalu remains unchanged,” Duncan said. The company plans to grow its wholesale operations and continue to use retail stores as a compliment to its distribution business, he said.

“Midway through fiscal 2015, I am encouraged with the progress we have made across the business,” said Duncan. “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.”