Cincinnati Kroger Co. announced Tuesday that, aided by gas and food discounting, its profits exceeded company and Wall Street expectations for the fiscal first quarter. A sales boost accompanied the better-than-expected quarterly profit.
The country’s largest grocery chain posted a fiscal first-quarter profit increase of 15%, or $386.0 million, compared with a profit of $336.6 million in the year-earlier quarter.
Same-store sales were up 5.8%, excluding fuel.
Total sales for the company, which operates Kroger, Fred Meyer and Ralphs grocery stores, as well as the Littman and Barclay jewelry chains, rose 11.5% to $23.11 billion.
During the quarter, Kroger allowed customers to exchange their tax refund or economic stimulus checks for a Kroger gift card with an extra $30, $60 or $120 added to it.
The grocery chain also rolled out a $4 generic drug promotion similar to that of Wal-Mart Stores.