Kroger Co. shares rising on Q1 earnings

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jun 16, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. reported a $670 million profit on first-quarter revenue of $34.6 billion, extending to 50 quarters its record-breaking streak of same-store sales growth.

Investors reacted to the news with buy orders. Kroger shares are up nearly 4 percent to $37 in pre-market trading.

The Cincinnati-based grocery giant exceeded analyst expectations by a penny with earnings per share of 70 cents. It fell about $280 million short of Wall Street estimates for revenue.

“Fifty consecutive quarters of positive identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, is extraordinary,” said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, in a press release. “We've been through all kinds of business cycles during the last 50 quarters, and we've demonstrated time and again that regardless of the environment, you can count on Kroger to continue executing our strategy, investing in growth and creating value for our customers and shareholders."

The company re-affirmed an earlier projection that identical-store sales growth would fall between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent in 2016. That’s down from prior years, causing some investors to shy away from Kroger stock. Shares are down 13 percent from a December peak of $42.64.

But the company is spending up to $4.4 billion on growth initiatives this year, including a 100-store pipeline of new and remodeled properties. And it has now expanded its ClickList and Express Lane online-ordering service to 25 cities.