Kroger continues to push its Restock Kroger strategic initiatives in a first quarter when it narrowly beat a Wall Street estimate.
The company posted net earnings of $772 million, or 95 cents per diluted share, versus $2.03 billion, or $2.37 per diluted share, in the quarter a year prior. Adjusted company net income, excluding one-time impacts, was $586 million, or 72 cents per diluted share, versus $626 million, or 73 cents per diluted share, in the year-previous period. Kroger topped a MarketBeat-published analyst consensus diluted earnings per share estimate by a penny.
Identical store sales advanced 1.5%, while digital sales gained 42% in the quarter year over year. Net sales were $37.25 billion versus $37.72 billion in the quarter a year earlier. Kroger asserted that the decrease arose from the sale of its convenience store business unit, adding that total sales, excluding the effect of that sale and fuel operations, increased 2% from the same period last year. Operating profit was $901 million versus $1.03 billion in the year-before period.
The company continues to execute against its Restocking Kroger strategic plan in the quarter, developed to guide adaptations to the evolving retail market. To that end, Kroger stated that it expanded grocery pickup to 1,685 locations and delivery to 2,126 locations, covering over 93% of households it services.
Rodney McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO, said, “Because the retail industry is constantly transforming, we proactively launched Restock Kroger to deliver for our customers and shareholders. It all starts with our customer obsession, which is why Kroger is assembling a platform to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere. We are building momentum in the second year of Restock Kroger, which is off to a solid start. The entire company is focused on redefining the grocery customer experience, improved upon by exciting partnerships that will create value. We are confident in our ability to deliver on our plans for the year and our long-term vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift.”