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Safeway forecasts higher profit for 2012

A general view of a local Safeway grocery store in Arvada
A general view of a local Safeway grocery store in Arvada

(Reuters) - Supermarket operator Safeway Inc said on Tuesday it expects higher sales and profit this year.

Ahead of an investor conference, Safeway forecasts earnings per share of between $1.90 and $2.10 in 2012, above the $1.88 Wall Street analysts were projecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The range is also above the $1.78 per share Safeway earned in 2011.

Safeway, pointing to the remodeling at many of its stores, said sales, excluding gas, should rise 1 percent to 2 percent this year.

The operator of the Safeway, Vons and Dominick's chains said it would spent $900 million on capital projects in 2012.

Its shares were up 21 cents, or 1 percent, in premarket trading.

(Reporting By Phil Wahba in New York,; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)