In early editions yesterday, quarterly profits of Giant Food Inc. were incorrectly described. Giant's profits were equivalent to 18 cents on a $10 grocery purchase.

Giant Food Inc., which earned only a minimal profit during last spring's grocery price war, yesterday reported a hefty increase in net income and substantially higher sales for the 12 weeks ended May 22.

Unaudited results reported by the Landover-based food chain show net income increased to $7.54 million ($1.53 a share) and sales during the 12-week period climbed to $411.9 million.

Giant's profits for the quarter were 42 times as much as the $176,000 (4 cents) it earned on sales of $362.6 million in the same period a year ago, when the company was deliberately sacrificing profits to build sales.

Giant's profits amounted to 1.83 percent of sales or just over 18 cents on each $10 order, compared with only a 1/2 cent profit on $10 of sales during the price war. Giant traditionally has aimed for a profit margin of 1.5 percent of sales and has exceeded that goal in the past two quarters, earning 2.2 percent on sales in the final quarter last year.

Last year, Giant inaugurated a "warehouse pricing" discount program, triggering a price war among Washington supermarkets, slashing Giant's profits in the first quarter of its fiscal year and producing a loss for the first half of fiscal 1982. However, Giant anticipated a return to profitable operations based on its ability to maintain increased customer traffic and build its sales volume.