Supervalu Inc. said it agreed to sell its logistics and supply chain subsidiary as the slumping grocery chain trims more businesses to focus on its core stores.

Supervalu sells logistics unit

The subsidiary, Total Logistic Control, will be sold to a unit of Ryder System Inc., through a stock purchase agreement that’s expected to be completed by the end of December, according to a Supervalu news release.

Total Logistic provides distribution, warehousing and transportation management services for food, beverage and consumer packaged goods companies.

Total Logistic “has been a strong and growing part of our supply chain services organization,” Janel Haugarth, Supervalu’s head of supply chain services, said in today’s state-ment.

Ryder System’s purchase will position Total Logistic “to become part of a company that will take them to the next level of expansion and growth in their field of expertise,” she said.

Supervalu “will continue to focus its efforts on becoming America's neighborhood grocer and providing supply chain expertise and services to our independent and (company)-owned stores,” Haugarth said.

The company didn’t disclose a sales price.

The sale will mark Supervalu’s latest move to shrink operations and boost performance at its key branded retail chains, which including Albertsons, Cub Foods, Jewel-Osco and Save-A-Lot. In October, Supervalu said it sold its Bristol Farms specialty grocery unit to a group of investors.

Based in Eden Prairie, Minn., Supervalu fared worse than other major grocery chains after the 2008-09 recession amid profit-draining food deflation and stiff competition from large discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and warehouse clubs such as Costco Wholesale Corp. Supervalu has also been rumored to be a takeover target.

In October, Supervalu reported a $1.47 billion quarterly loss and cut its sales and profit forecasts for the second time in three months. Identical-store sales in the 12-month period that began in March are expected to fall 5.5%, excluding fuel, from the previous year, Supervalu reported.

Mike Siemienas, a Supervalu spokesman, declined to say whether the company will sell more units.

“Supervalu continuously evaluates its operations to identify opportunities to strengthen its overall business,” he said.

Supervalu is the fifth-largest U.S. food retailer with about 4% of the U.S. market, according to Citigroup Global Markets analyst Deborah Weinswig. Wal-Mart is the largest.