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    Sales Up 10% for the Year at Kroger

    Grocery giant also posts rise for most recent quarter

    The Kroger Co. reported $90.4 billion in total sales for fiscal year 2011, an increase of 10.2 percent over 2010.

    Identical supermarket sales, without fuel, increased 4.9 percent in FY 2011 compared with the prior fiscal year. Q4 total sales, including fuel, increased 7.7 percent to $21.4 billion over prior year, while same-store sales, without fuel, rose 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

    “We are very pleased with Kroger’s outstanding performance in fiscal year 2011 and strong fourth-quarter financial results,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Our ‘Customer 1st’ strategy is delivering value for our customers, who are rewarding Kroger with their loyalty. Customer loyalty, in turn, is driving sales and shareholder returns.”

    Excluding the effect of the UFCW pension plan consolidation announced in December, adjusted earnings for Q4 were $283.8 million, or 50 cents per diluted share. Including the plan’s effect, Kroger reported a net loss for the fourth quarter that totaled $306.9 million, or 54 cents per diluted share. For the full year, earnings were $1.2 billion, or $2 per diluted share, exclusive of the pension plan, and $602.1 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, including the pension plan.

    “Kroger increased identical sales, grew market share and invested wisely to continue to win customer loyalty,” Dillon said. “That we were able to raise earnings per share and identical sales guidance through the year and achieve those higher results demonstrates the strength of our business strategy and momentum for a strong 2012.”

    For fiscal year 2012, Kroger anticipates identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of 3 to 3.5 percent. This includes the expected negative effect on sales from prescription drugs coming off patent. Full-year net earnings for FY 2012 are expected to range from $2.28 to $2.38 per diluted share.

    “When we put our customers first, shareholders win,” Dillon said. “Kroger will continue to reward shareholders in 2012 through increased earnings, plus the benefit of quarterly dividends and share repurchases.”

    Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,435 supermarkets and multidepartment 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.

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