Kroger's 3Q net earnings, sales climb

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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CINCINNATI – The Kroger Co. announced net earnings for its third quarter of fiscal 2010 totaled $202.2 million, or $0.32 per diluted share. For the third quarter of fiscal 2009, Kroger reported a net loss of $874.9 million, or $1.35 per diluted share. Total sales, which include fuel, increased 5.9% to $18.7 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with $17.7 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel sales, total sales increased 3.1% in the third quarter, which ended Nov. 6, over the same period last year.

Identical supermarket sales, without fuel, increased 2.4% in the third quarter over the same period last year.

"Our team increased identical supermarket sales, earnings and earnings per share in the third quarter while controlling expenses to keep prices low for our customers, said David Dillon, chairman and CEO. “These results show Kroger's strategy is working and that our core grocery business is strong and resilient."

On a rolling four-quarters basis, Kroger's net total debt to EBITDA ratio was 1.93, which is consistent with the same period last year after adjusting for the impairment charges in fiscal 2009.

For the first three quarters of fiscal 2010, net earnings for the first three quarters of fiscal 2010 were $837.5 million, or $1.30 per diluted share. Kroger reported a net loss of $185.4 million for the first three quarters of fiscal 2009, or $0.29 per diluted share. Total sales were $62.3 billion compared with $58.2 billion for the same period last year

Kroger narrowed its annual identical supermarket sales guidance for fiscal 2010. It now expects identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, to range between 2.5% and 3.0%. The previous guidance range was 2.0% to 3.0%.

For full-year net earnings, Kroger narrowed its guidance range to $1.65 to $1.78 per diluted share. The company is striving to achieve results in the upper half of this guidance range. The previous range was $1.60 to $1.80 per diluted share.

Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 334,000 associates who serve customers in 2,461 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names.
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