Kroger Raises Fiscal View Despite Weaker 3Q

Supermarket operator Kroger (NYSE:KR) revealed a slightly weaker third-quarter profit, however the company lifted its fiscal view anyway, saying its 10% sales growth reflects positive momentum heading into the holiday season.

The Cincinnati-based company said it earned $195.9 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $202.2 million, or 32 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. The results were just ahead of average estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll of 32 cents.

Sales for the three months ended Nov. 5 was $20.6 billion, up 10.3% from $18.7 billion in 2010, narrowly beating the Street’s view of $20.4 billion. Identical supermarket sales, or those open longer than a year, grew 5% during the quarter.

"Kroger had an outstanding third quarter," said David Dillon, Kroger CEO. "This is exactly the positive momentum we strive for as we enter the holiday season, our most exciting time of the year.”

Reflecting the positive growth last quarter, the company lifted its fiscal view, now expecting full-year earnings in the range of $1.95 to $2 a share from its earlier view of $1.85 to $1.95. Wall Street is expecting $1.96 a share.

Kroger sees fiscal identical sales growth between 4% and 5%.