Kroger's board has approved a $500 million stock buyback, the supermarket chain announced on the day of its annual shareholder meeting in Cincinnati.
The buyback replaces a previous approval that had been used up. The company said it bought back 25.7 million shares for $1.1 billion in its fiscal first quarter. It doesn't expect to make any more significant purchases the rest of the year but said actual purchases will depend on market conditions.
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The Cincinnati company said it returned more than $1.9 billion to stockholders through buybacks and dividends over the past four quarters. It has returned about $11 billion to stockholders through share repurchases since January 2000.
The nation's largest supermarket operator also declared a quarterly dividend of 16.5 cents per share. Kroger Co. — which runs Ralphs, Fry's and other chains — said Thursday that the dividend will be paid on Sept. 1 to shareholders of record on Aug. 15.
Last week Kroger reported a 4 percent rise in its first-quarter profit and increased its full-year earnings forecast.
Shares of Kroger added 11 cents to $49.33 in morning trading.