The Kroger Co. has reported net earnings of $501 million and identical supermarket sales growth, without fuel, of 4.6% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. The supermarket chain continued that this is its 42nd consecutive quarter of positive identical supermarket sales growth.
The company’s net earnings include charges related to the restructuring of certain pension obligations to help stabilize associates’ future benefits.
Excluding these charges, Kroger’s adjusted net earnings were $557 million, for the first quarter. Net earnings in the same period last year were $481 million.
“Kroger associates continue to enhance our connection with all customers and achieve our key performance measures, which are allowing us to achieve our growth strategy and create shareholder value,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s CEO. “Our strong first quarter results set us up to deliver a 12% to 15% net earnings growth rate for the year, partly due to the benefit of Harris Teeter, compared to our long-term growth rate of 8% to 11% plus the growing dividend. We are pleased to start the year with growth momentum while also returning $1.1 billion in cash back to shareholders this quarter through our buyback program.”
This is the first period that includes Harris Teeter in Kroger’s statement of operations. Year-over-year percentage comparisons are affected as a result.
Total sales increased 9.9% to $32.96 billion in the first quarter compared to $30 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 11.4% in the first quarter over the same period last year.