Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Kroger (NYSE: KR) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.
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- Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 13.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- KROGER CO has improved earnings per share by 10.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, KROGER CO reported lower earnings of $0.95 versus $1.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.41 versus $0.95).
- The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
- Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Food & Staples Retailing industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, KROGER CO has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
- The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Food & Staples Retailing industry average. The net income has decreased by 0.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $281.00 million to $279.00 million.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff