Kroger Beats Estimates As Economy Struggles Forward
Friday June 15th, 2012 - 1:32PM
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The Kroger Co. has reported that net earnings for the first quarter totaled $439.4 million, or 78 cents per diluted share, versus $432.3 million, or 70 cents per diluted share, in the period a year earlier. Identical supermarket sales, without fuel input, increased 4.2% in the first quarter versus the 2011 period.
The company said total sales in the first quarter, excluding fuel input, increased 4.3% year over year. Including fuel, total sales increased 5.8% to $29.1 billion versus the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig observed that Kroger reported earnings came in above her estimate of 73 cents per diluted share and above a consensus analyst estimate of 72 cents.
Weinswig pointed out, in a research note, that Kroger management believes the external economic environment is somewhat, and only slowly, improving to its benefit. The company believes it continues to take share away from other food retailers, particularly restaurants, and should continue to do so. It also believes that a strong performance from pharmacy reflects consumers switching over from Walgreens in the wake of the drug store chain’s break with prescription benefits manager Express Scripts.
Kroger operates 2,425 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. It also operates convenience and fine jewelry stores and food processing plants.
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