Kroger and other supermarkets are trying to adapt to a shifting industry as shoppers increasingly buy groceries at big-box retailers, drugstores and dollar stores with growing food sections.
The company is bolstering its appeal across a broader spectrum, through its acquisition of upscale food retailer Harris Teeter, and an expanded loyalty program for customers sticking to a tighter budget. In Washington state, Kroger operates Fred Meyer stores and QFC.
The nation's largest traditional supermarket said Thursday that its net income fell to $299 million, or 57 cents per share. That compares with net income of $317 million, or 60 cents per share a year ago. Excluding costs related to the acquisition and a tax benefit, net income totaled 53 cents per share, matching expectations. A year ago, the company benefited from a settlement with credit card companies. Excluding that and other items, year-ago revenue totaled 46 cents per share.
Revenue rose 3 percent to $22.51 billion from $21.81 billion. Analysts expected $22.72 billion.
Kroger Co., which owns also Ralphs, Fry's and other chains, said sales rose 3.5 percent at stores open at least a year. That's a key measure of a retailer's financial health because it excludes the volatility from stores that open or close during the period.
The company stuck to its per-share earnings expectations of $2.73 to $2.80 for the year. Analysts expect $2.80 per share.
Shares edged down 55 cents to $40.96 in morning trading, with stocks on major U.S. markets moving mostly lower. The stock is up 63 percent since the beginning of the year.
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.