Why Kroger Co. Stock Popped on Thursday

What happened

Shares of grocer Kroger (NYSE: KR) jumped as much as 13.6% on Thursday, following the company's release of its third-quarter results. The stock finished the trading day up 6.1%.

Kroger stock's rise on Thursday likely reflects the quarter's better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share (EPS). Revenue and earnings per share for the quarter were $27.7 billion and $0.44, respectively. On average, analysts were expecting revenue and EPS of $27.5 billion and $0.40, respectively.

So what

Beyond beating analyst expectations, the quarter also highlighted meaningful growth at a time when investors are worried about how Amazon's foray into the grocery business will impact incumbents. Total sales were up 4.5% year over year, or 3% when excluding fuel. Earnings per share was up about 23% year over year.

Importantly, Kroger demonstrated promising growth in digital revenue. Digital revenue climbed 109% year over year, driven by its ClickList product, or a personalized online ordering service.

Now what

Management was optimistic about the fourth quarter and beyond. With Black Friday falling in the fourth quarter, management said it had its "best ever Black Friday results for general merchandise, led by record sales at Fred Meyer."

Kroger is gaining "momentum," said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen. "We remain confident in our ability to continue to grow identical supermarket store sales and market share for the balance of the year and in 2018."

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.