CINCINNATI — Kroger achieved its 39th consecutive quarter of positive identical supermarket sales, and is raising its guidance as a result.
The company's total sales for the second quarter ended Aug. 17 increased 4.6% to $22.7 billion in the second quarter compared with $21.7 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.9% in the second quarter over the same period last year.
"Kroger's strong second quarter results have us on target to deliver the earnings per share growth we promised for the year," said David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "As we have shown quarter after quarter, our consistent execution of the Customer 1st Strategy deepens customer loyalty, increases sales and creates sustainable shareholder value."
Net earnings for the second quarter totaled $317 million, or $0.60 per diluted share. Net earnings for the second quarter last year were $279 million, or $0.51 per diluted share.
Based on the second quarter results, the company maintained its net earnings guidance range of $2.73 to $2.80 per diluted share for fiscal 2013. This is consistent with the company's long-term earnings per share growth rate guidance of 8–11%, plus a growing dividend. Kroger raised identical supermarket sales, excluding fuel, growth guidance to approximately 3% to 3.5% for fiscal 2013 from 2.5% to 3.5%.
"We are improving our connection with customers and associates, rewarding shareholders and investing to grow our business," Dillon said. "We intend to continue building on this positive momentum with execution at every level of the company to achieve our long-term earnings per share growth rate of 8–11% in fiscal 2013 and beyond."
Kroger has 343,000 employees who serve customers in 2,418 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 783 convenience stores, 326 fine jewelry stores, 1,195 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.