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The Kroger Co. reported total sales, including fuel, increased 3.9 percent to $21.7 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 compared with $20.9 billion for the same period last year.
In the second quarter, which ended Aug. 11, total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.8 percent over the same period last year.
“We are pleased with Kroger’s strong performance in the second quarter,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Kroger shareholders once again benefited from our Customer 1st strategy. Increased customer loyalty and solid cost controls allowed us to grow sales, profitability, and shareholder value.”
Net earnings for the second quarter totaled $279.1 million, or $0.51 per diluted share. Net earnings in the same period last year were $280.8 million, or $0.46 per diluted share. Prior year net earnings benefited from a 27.6 percent tax rate, compared to a tax rate of 34.5 percent in the second quarter this year.
Kroger’s strong cash flow allowed the company to return more than $1.9 billion to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends over the last four quarters. During the second quarter, Kroger repurchased 23.7 million common shares for a total investment of $525 million. Capital investment, excluding acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, totaled $444.7 million for the second quarter, compared with $428.5 million for the same period last year.
Kroger expects to have a slightly higher FIFO operating margin rate, excluding fuel, for the full 2012 fiscal year. As a result of strong first half performance and higher than anticipated share repurchase activity, Kroger is increasing its fiscal 2012 earnings guidance to a range of $2.35 to $2.42 per diluted share.
“Every day, our associates are delivering a better shopping experience for our customers,” added Dillon. “Kroger's increased earnings per share guidance for the year reflects our confidence that our Customer 1st strategy will continue to create value for our customers and shareholders alike.”
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,425 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.