Kroger Tops Q1 Estimates, But Shares Fall Anyway

Kroger also said that it would exceed its original full year comps and earnings guidance.
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Shares of grocery giant Kroger  (KR) - Get Report were falling premarket Thursday despite the company topping fiscal first quarter analyst estimates while also saying that 2020 comps guidance would be ahead of expectations.

Kroger reported net income of $1.21 billion, or $1.22 per share adjusted on revenue of $41.55 billion, up from $37.25 billion a year ago. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $1.12 per share on sales of $40.71 billion for the quarter ended May 23. 

"Under Restock Kroger, we have made significant investments over the last several years to establish a seamless digital ecosystem, strengthen Our Brands and our personalization capabilities, and to enhance product freshness and quality," said CEO Rodney McMullen about the company's digital presence. 

While the company said that it would be difficult to offer guidance for this fiscal year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it did say that it expects to exceed its original 2020 outlook for same store sales growth and profit. 

It did not, however, provide a new 2020 forecast. The company previously projected comps growth of more than 2.2% and earnings between $2.30 and $2.40 per share. 

Digital sales for the first quarter jumped 92% compared to growth of just 22% in the previous quarter. 

During the quarter, Kroger said it hired more than 100,000 "associates", helped test nearly 83,000 patients for COVID-19 in 15 states and was one of only five U.S. retailers to "develop, staff and expand free COVID testing model in partnership with the federal and state governments."

Despite these wins, Kroger shares fell 0.9% to $32.50 in pre-market trading Thursday morning.