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Kroger Beats Q2 Earnings Forecast Forecast As Coronavirus Pandemic Boosts Online Sales

Kroger, the biggest U.S. grocery store chain, echoed changes in shopping habits reported by retailers such as Walmart and Target with a huge boost in online sales that helped deliver stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings.

Kroger Co.  (KR) - Get Kroger Co. Report posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings Friday as a surge in online food sales during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic boosted the bottom line of the biggest U.S. grocery store chain.

Kroger said adjusted earnings for the three months ending on August 15, the group's fiscal second quarter, were pegged at 73 cents per share, up 66% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 54 cents per share. Group revenues, Kroger said, rose 8.3% to $30.5 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $29.8 billion tally.

Digital sales, Kroger said, rose 127% from last year, helping same-store sales rise by a Street-beating 14.6%.

Looking into the final half of its financial year, Kroger said it sees adjusted earnings in the range of $3.20 to $3.30 per share, and a 13% increase in comparable sales compared to the previous year.

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"We delivered extremely strong results in the second quarter and expect to deliver consistently attractive total shareholder returns, said CEO Rodney McMullen. "Kroger's strong digital business is a key contributor to this growth, as the investments made to expand our digital ecosystem are resonating with customers."

"Our results continue to show that Kroger is a trusted brand and our customers choose to shop with us because they value the product quality and freshness, convenience, and digital offerings that we provide," he added.

Kroger shares were marked 1.6% lower in early Friday trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $34.12 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 22%.