Kroger (KR) reported year-on-year declines in its fiscal first-quarter results but the outcome for earnings topped analysts expectations while sales were in line with views, while the grocer’s same-store sales slowed beneath projections.
Sales slipped to $37.3 billion from $37.7 billion in the same period of 2018, with the decrease attributed to Kroger’s sale of its convenience-store business. Still, the result was in line with the expectation on Capital IQ.
Adjusted net earnings slipped to $0.72 a share from $0.73 a share in the year-earlier period, but that was still a penny stronger than the Street was expecting.
Shares in the Cincinnati-based company were down 2.2% in pre-market trading on Thursday.
“We are building momentum in the second year of Restock Kroger, which is off to a solid start,” said Rodney McMullen, chief executive of the company, referring to Kroger’s investment plan launched in late 2017. “We are on track to generate the free cash flow and incremental adjusted (first-in first-out) operating profit that we committed to in 2019 as part of Restock Kroger.”
Identical sales excluding fuel were 1.5% in the three months ended May 25, slower than 1.9% in the same period of 2018 and against the Capital IQ consensus for 1.8%. The company’s sales of its Our Brands items rose 3.3% in the quarter, and it expanded to 1,685 locations for grocery pickup and 2,126 for delivery.
Kroger’s gross margin for the three months ending Mary 25 was 22.2% of sales while adjusted FIFO operating profit fell to $957 million from $1.02 billion a year ago. FIFO is sales minus merchandise costs and including advertising, warehousing and transportation.