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Kroger Says 3Q Earnings On Target

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(KR) - Get Kroger Co. Report

posted third-quarter earnings that met analysts' expectations amid a 1.9% growth in same-store food sales.

The Cincinnati, Ohio grocery giant earned $231.4 million, or 28 cents a share, excluding costs related to mergers and one-time expenses, compared with $202 million, or 24 cents a share, in the same period last year. The 17-analyst estimate on

First Call/Thomson Financial

called for the company to earn 28 cents a share.

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Quarterly revenue grew 6.1% to $11 billion, up from $10.3 billion last year. Food store sales also rose 6.1%.

Kroger, which operates the largest retail grocery chain in the U.S., said it opened, expanded, relocated or acquired 35 food stores in the third quarter, compared with 104 stores in the third quarter of 1999. The company also incurred merger-related and one-time expenses of $34.5 million, pre-tax, in the third quarter.

For fiscal year 2001, Kroger said it remains comfortable with the consensus estimate of $1.36 a share.

Shares of Kroger closed at $25.75 on the

New York Stock Exchange

on Monday.