Kroger 2Q Profit Climbs on Better Same-Store Sales

Kroger (NYSE:KR) revealed on Friday a 7% increase in second-quarter profit as its identical supermarket sales improved for the 31st consecutive quarter and debt was reduced.

The Cincinnati-based operator of supermarkets, drug stores and department stores posted net earnings of $280 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with $261.6 million, or 41 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding special items, the company earned 41 cents, just below average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 43 cents a share.

Revenue for the company, which owns Kroger, City Market, Dillons and Ralphs stores, increased 11.5% to $20.9 billion from $18.8 billion a year ago, beating the Streets view of $20.51 billion.

The company partly attributed results for the three months ended August 13 to a 5.3% improvement in identical supermarket sales. The company narrowed its debt by $49 million during the quarter.

We are pleased with Krogers strong performance this quarter, which we believe is the outcome of our consistent approach to managing the business and executing our Customer 1st strategy, Kroger CEO David Dillon said in a statement.

Reflecting the strong performance, Kroger lifted its comparable store sales forecast to a growth range of 4% to 5%, up from its earlier view between 3.5% and 4.5%.

The company, which highlighted the still sluggish economy, maintained its fiscal guidance of $1.85 to $1.95 a share, below the Streets view of $1.97.