The Kroger Co. posted net earnings of $619 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, versus $501 million, or 98 cents per diluted share in the year-prior period. Identical supermarket sales, without fuel, gained 5.7% in the first quarter, the company reported.
Kroger beat a Zacks Investment Research analyst average estimate of $1.21.
Kroger net earnings for last year’s first quarter included charges related to the restructuring of certain pension obligations, the company noted. With those charges excluded, Kroger’s adjusted net earnings in last year’s quarter were $557 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, the company stated.
In announcing the financial results, chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said, “We are pleased with our start for the year, with identical supermarket sales growth in every department and supermarket division. We are managing through a volatile operating environment, with fuel margins normalizing compared to last year’s record highs, inflation in some commodities and deflation in others. Our results show the power of our Customer 1st Strategy. Our associates are making a difference for our customers by providing excellent service and product quality and selection, and we continue to improve the shopping experience by bringing technology and digital capabilities to our business. Our integration with Vitacost.com is going very well. We are inviting customers in Cincinnati to try ClickList, our order online, pickup at the store solution we are learning from Harris Teeter, and more customers than ever before are engaging with our digital tools.”
Kroger operates supermarkets and supercenters in 34 of the United States and the District of Columbia under the banners Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. It also operates 780 convenience stores, 327 fine jewelry stores, 1,342 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.