Kroger Tops Forecasts

The grocer's earnings and guidance both exceed analysts' expectations. Shares rise.
Author:
Publish date:

Kroger's

(KR) - Get Report

fourth-quarter earnings beat forecasts, boosted by strong sales, and the supermarket operator offered a guidance for the current year that topped expectations.

Shares were trading up 70 cents, or 2.7%, to $26.46.

For the quarter ended Feb. 3, the Cincinnati-based company earned $384.8 million, or 54 cents a share, up from $282.1 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. The current quarter includes a benefit of 3 cents a share related to the adjustments of certain deferred tax balances.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn 45 cents a share.

Sales increased 14.5% to $16.89 billion, exceeding Wall Street's forecast of $16.79 billion.

Identical supermarket sales increased 5.6% including fuel, and rose 5.3% excluding fuel. Identical supermarkets measure stores that have been open without expansion or relocation for five full quarters and are not scheduled to be closed.

For all of fiscal 2007, Kroger reported earnings of $1.11 billion, or $1.54 a share, up from $958 million, or $1.31 a share, a year earlier. Sales increased 9.2% to $66.11 billion.

Looking ahead, Kroger forecast earnings of $1.60 to $1.65 a share for the current year. Analysts, on average, projected earnings of $1.46 a share.