Grocery store chain Kroger (KR - Get Report) on Thursday reported fiscal first-quarter earnings just ahead of analysts' forecasts amid improving sales of its Kroger-branded products, though not enough to impress shareholders, who pushed the stock lower.

The Cincinnati-based grocery store chain reported adjusted net income of $586 million, or 72 cents a share, vs. $626 million, or 73 cents a share, in the comparable year-earlier quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 71 cents.

Sales came in at $37.3 billion in the first quarter, compared to $37.7 billion for the same period last year.

Kroger has been struggling to compete against retail giants like Walmart (WMT - Get Report) and Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) , which have gained market share both on competitive pricing as well as digital delivery options.

To fight back, Kroger has been working on a three-year "Restock Kroger" program aimed at "redefining the grocery customer experience, improved upon by exciting partnerships that will create value."

Shares of Kroger fell 2.2% to $23.13 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. 

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