CINCINNATI — Thanks to strong sales inside its supermarkets, Kroger reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings on Friday. The company also said it expects earnings for the year to be higher than it previously expected, and its shares rose more than 4 percent in midday trading.
The Cincinnati-based company operates more than 2,600 supermarkets, including Kroger, Harris Teeter and Ralphs. Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key measure of a retailer's health, rose 5.3 percent, excluding fuel sales.
For the full year, the company now expects sales at stores open a year to rise 4 percent to 5 percent, up from its previous forecast of a 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent rise. Those numbers also exclude fuel sales.
Kroger reported it earned $433 million, or 44 cents per share, for its latest quarter, beating Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 40 cents per share.
The supermarket chain posted overall revenue of $25.54 billion in the period, missing Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $25.59 billion. Lower retail fuel prices weighed on overall company sales growth.
Kroger said it now expects full-year earnings to be $1.92 per share to $1.98 per share, up from its previous guidance between $1.90 per share and $1.95 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.95 per share for the year ending in January, according to FactSet.
Shares of The Kroger Co. rose $1.53, or 4.3 percent, to $36.92 in midday trading Friday. Its shares are up more than 41 percent for the past year.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on KR at http://www.zacks.com/ap/KR
Keywords: Kroger, Earnings Report