Kroger Makes Q3 Sales Strides

Today, The Kroger Co. reported that identical supermarket sales, excluding the impact of fuel operations, gained 5.6% in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. The company’s net earnings per diluted share, which include a four cent benefit in the third quarter due to certain tax items, was 73 cents based on basic earnings of $362 million, versus earnings of $299 million, or 57 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding the tax-related items, Kroger’s adjusted net earnings were 69 cents per diluted share for this year’s third quarter.

Kroger beat a Zacks average analyst estimate of 61 cents per diluted share.

In addition to strong core operating results, an increase in fuel margin per gallon contributed to the company’s net earnings per diluted share results in the third quarter, Kroger stated.

Total sales gained 11.2% to $25 billion compared to $22.5 billion in last year’s quarter, the company noted. Total sales excluding fuel increased 13.7% in this year’s third quarter.

“Our associates continue to execute our Customer 1st strategy, which is building loyalty beyond the weekly ad and showing yet again that focusing on our customers creates value for our shareholders,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s CEO. “Our financial results were driven by strong sales and core business performance, and helped by higher fuel margins in the third quarter.”

This year’s third quarter is the third consecutive that includes Harris Teeter returns in Kroger results.