Kroger's Third Quarter in 7 Metrics

Supermarket grocer chain Kroger (NYSE: KR) just reported its third-quarter results. Both the company's adjusted earnings per share and revenue topped analyst estimates as the company benefited from the execution on its Restock Kroger plan for invigorating its business. The quarter marked a nice change from the company's second quarter, which featured worse-than-expected net sales.

As investors look over Kroger's third quarter, here are some of the most insightful metrics from the period.

1. Total sales decreased 0.3% year over year

Kroger's consolidated net sales declined 0.3% year over year in Q3. But when excluding fuel sales, the company's divestment of its convenience store business unit, and its acquisition of Home Chef, total sales were up 1.7% year over year. This growth rate is about in line with the 1.8% adjusted revenue growth Kroger saw in Q2.

The quarter's sales of $27.67 billion were notably ahead of a consensus analyst estimate for $27.58 billion.

2. Same-store sales increased 1.6%

Kroger reported 1.6% year-over-year growth in same-store sales when excluding fuel sales. This is identical to the metric's 1.6% growth in Q2.

This same-store sales growth was in line with management's expectations and was fueled primarily by the company's Natural Foods, Pharmacy, Seafood, Produce, and Deli departments.

3. Digital sales jumped 60%

Digital sales during the quarter climbed 60% year over year. This was an acceleration from Kroger's 50% year-over-year increase in digital sales in Q2. The company said 90% of households near Kroger locations now have access to Kroger pickup and delivery of online orders.

4. Kroger brands made up 26.6% of sales

The company's various Kroger brands, such as Simple Truth, Private Selection, and Murray's, accounted for 26.6% of the quarter's sales and 28.7% of the period's unit sales. Both of these figures are all-time highs for Q3.

5. Kroger has $546 million remaining in its share repurchase program

The company has spent $2.3 billion repurchasing 91 million of its own shares over the past four quarters. This left $546 million in Kroger's share repurchase authorization at the end of Q3.

6. Non-GAAP EPS was $0.48

The company's non-GAAP earnings per share was $0.48, up from $0.44 in the year-ago quarter. Management attributed the higher earnings per share to stronger fuel profit margins and strong early execution on its Restock Kroger plan.

7. Kroger expects more of the same for same-store sales growth

Management expects same-store sales growth in the second half of the year to be similar to what it was in the first half of the year. For context, same-store sales increased 1.9% and 1.6% in the first and second quarters of 2018, respectively, when excluding fuel sales. With Q3 same-store sales growth at 1.6%, this implies expectations for a slight uptick in same-store sales growth in Q4.

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