CINCINNATI – The Kroger Co. reported net earnings for the third quarter ending Nov. 3 totaled $316.5 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, vs. $195.9 million the same quarter a year earlier, or $0.33 per diluted share. Total sales, including fuel, increased 5.9 percent to $21.8 billion in the third quarter compared with $20.6 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.7 percent in the third quarter over the same period last year.

"Kroger achieved our growth objectives for the quarter, including positive identical supermarket sales, operating profit growth and outstanding tonnage growth," said David Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer. "This quarter illustrates that the strength of our core business positions Kroger to accelerate our earnings per share growth."

Excluding acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, capital expenditures totaled $473.5 million for the third quarter, compared to $497.0 million for the same period last year.

Kroger recently began reporting return on invested capital results on a quarterly basis. ROIC in the third quarter was 13.3 percent, compared to 13.5 percent during the same period last year.

One of the world's largest retailers, Kroger employs more than 339,000 associates who serve customers in 2,422 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. The company also operates 37 food processing plants in the US.