Kroger Keeps Same-Store Sales Streak Alive

Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings Thursday before the markets opened as $1.09 in earnings per share (EPS) and $33.1 billion in revenue. That compared to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $1.22 in EPS on $33.34 billion in revenue. In the same quarter of last year, it posted EPS of $1.09 and revenue of $32.96 billion.

The company kept the streak alive and achieved its 46th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth, excluding fuel.

In the report, Kroger confirmed guidance for the fiscal year. It expects EPS to be in a range of $3.80 to $3.90 and same-store sales to be in a range of 3.5% to 4.5%. Also Kroger expects capital investments, excluding mergers, acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, to be in the $3.0 billion to $3.3 billion range for the year. There are consensus estimates of $3.87 in earnings per share and $110.90 billion in revenue for the 2016 fiscal year.

Capital investments totaled $915 million for the first quarter, compared to $709 million for the same period last year.

Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Kroger, said:

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.

The company ended the quarter with $252 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $265 million in the same period last year.

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Shares of Kroger closed Wednesday up 0.8% at $72.91. Following the release of the earnings report, shares were up around 3% to $75.03, just after Thursday’s opening bell. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $80.83 and a 52-week trading range of $48.58 to $77.74.

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