CINCINNATI – Kroger saw a 4 per cent jump in first-quarter profit and the nation’s biggest supermarket raised its earnings forecast for the year.
Shares rose more than 5 per cent in morning trading Thursday to an all-time high.
The Cincinnati company — which also runs Ralphs, Fry’s and other chains — earned $501 million, or 98 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with $481 million, or 92 cents per share, a year ago.
Removing non-recurring charges, The Kroger Co. earned $1.09 per share, four cents better than analysts polled by FactSet had been projecting.
Revenue jumped 10 per cent to $32.96 billion, which also edged out expectations due in part due to a new acquisition, the grocer and pharmacy Harris Teeter.
Sales at established locations climbed 4.6 per cent, excluding fuel. Those comparable-stores sales can be a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes volatility from locations recently opened or closed.
Kroger now foresees fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings between $3.19 and $3.27 per share. Previously it predicted $3.14 to $3.25 per share.
The company also increased its full-year guidance for sales at established locations, excluding fuel. It now anticipates 3 per cent to 4 per cent growth. Its prior outlook was for a 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent increase.
Shares reached $50.20 in early trading, which is a new high.