The Kroger Co. (KR) topped analysts’ expectations for Q2 earnings but slightly missed the mark on revenues. Identical-store sales, excluding fuel, also came in short of expectations. Shares dropped 9% during pre-market hours.
The retailer reported sales of $27.8 billion for the second quarter of 2018, up 1% from the same period last year. Excluding fuel, the convenience store business unit divestiture and the Home Chef merger, total sales grew 1.8%. Identical sales, excluding fuel, grew 1.6%.
Net income rose to $508 million or $0.62 per share, compared to $353 million or $0.39 per share last year. Adjusted net income was $0.41 per diluted share, above the estimates of $0.38 per share.
For full-year 2018, Kroger expects identical sales growth, excluding fuel, to be 2% to 2.5%. The company revised its GAAP diluted EPS guidance to $3.88 to $4.03 from the previous range of $3.64 to $3.79, due to the unrealized gain in Ocado shares. Adjusted diluted EPS is expected to be $2.00 to $2.15.
Kroger is taking steps to improve its customers’ shopping experience through the rollout of Kroger Ship to four US cities, with further expansion plans underway, and the launch of OptUP, an app that helps customers make healthier purchase decisions.
The company made Simple Truth products available in China through Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform and expanded its partnership with Instacart to increase delivery to 75 additional markets across the US by late October. Kroger is also exploring strategic alternatives for the Turkey Hill Dairy business, including a potential sale.