American Stores Co. reports third quarter and nine-month increases in sales and comparable net earnings, excluding the Lucky Stores acquisition and other one-time items.

The company said its programs to build sales continues to succeed with like-store sales increasing by 5.8 percent for the third quarter and 5.9 percent for the year.Comparable net earnings for the third quarter were $35.37 million, or $1.01 per common share, compared with $33.40 million, or 87 cents per common share, for the same period a year ago.

Year-to-date comparable net earnings were $119.50 million, or $3.39 per common share for 1988 and $112.42 million, or $3.02 per common share for the same period in 1987.

Reported net earnings including LIFO, unusual items and the results of the Lucky acquisition for the third quarter and year-to-date periods ended Oct. 29 were $20.69 million, or 54 cents per common share, and $78.01 million, or $2.02 per common share, respectively. Prior year's reported net earnings amounted to $36.75 million, or 98 cents per common share for the third quarter and $108.22 million, or $2.88 per common share for the year-to-date.

American's sales for the third quarter, excluding Lucky's results, were $3.67 billion compared to $3.47 billion for the comparable period a year earlier. Comparable year-to-date sales increased to $11.00 billion as compared to the prior year's sales of $10.46 billion. Including Lucky Stores, sales for the quarter were $4.94 billion and for the year-to-date period were $13.08 billion.

This year's third quarter and year-to-date reported net earnings include the operating results of Lucky Stores from June 2 and the interest expense and amortization of asset write-ups relating to the acquisition.

Lucky continues to perform well, the company said, being slightly ahead of budgeted sales for the quarter and year-to-date and substantially ahead of budgeted operating profit for the third quarter and year-to-date periods. Sale of the 37 Alpha Beta and Lucky stores listed for sale in a divestiture approved by the Federal Trade Commission will be completed next month.

American Superstores Inc., the company's eastern grocery operations, had a 4.9 percent sales increase for the third quarter to $1.73 billion compared with $1.65 billion in 1987. Year-to-date sales increased 5.5 percent to $5.17 billion in 1988 compared to $4.90 billion in 1987.

Average common shares outstanding for the year-to-date were 30.15 million compared with 30.99 million in 1987. Preferred dividends for the third quarter amounted to $4.59 million in 1988 and $6.31 million in 1987.

This reduction from 1987 to 1988 is due to the redemption of the Preferred B stock on Aug. 15. Year-to-date preferred dividends amounted to $17.14 million compared with $18.93 million for 1987. At the quarter end the company operated 1,913 stores in 39 states excluding stores remaining to be sold under the FTC agreement.