Cincinnati -- The Kroger Co. reported Thursday that net income in the first quarter rose to $439.4 million, from $432.3 million last year.
The operator of namesake stores as well as Ralphs, Food 4 Less and others, also said it authorized a $1 billion share buyback.
Sales during the period were $29.06 billion, up from $27.46 billion last year but missing Wall Street’s expected $29.16 billion. Same-store sales rose 4.2%, the grocer’s 34th straight quarter of growth.
Based on the strong first quarter, the company lifted its 2012 outlook.