The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) reported fourth quarter 2019 adjusted EPS of $0.57 compared to the Street’s view of $0.55. Sales grew to $28.9 billion from $28.3 billion in the fourth quarter and was better than the estimated revenue of $28.83 billion. Kroger shares, which reached its 52-week high ($30.97) yesterday, were up about 1% during the pre-market trading session.
Excluding fuel and dispositions, sales grew 2.3%. Identical sales without fuel grew 2%, while digital sales grew 22% in the quarter ended February 1, 2020.
Net earnings attributable to the company was $327 million or $0.40 per share compared to $259 million or $0.32 per share in the prior-year quarter.
Kroger maintained its previously issued fiscal 2020 adjusted earnings outlook of $2.30-2.40 per share. Operating profit is estimated to be between $3.0 billion and $3.1 billion and the company expects to spend $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion in FY20. This guidance does not include any potential impact related to the Coronavirus.
Last month, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathway disclosed that it has bought about 19 million shares of Kroger for about $500 million. Berkshire’s purchase of the grocer chain’s shares helped the Kroger stock to see an upward movement of about 5%.
In early January, the Cincinnati-based company launched Simple Truth’s Emerge, plant-based burger patties in its stores. Kroger anticipates interest in plant-based products to continue to grow in 2020 and plans to expand this by launching 50 additional Simple Truth plant-based products this year.
KR stock, which ended up 5.52% at $30.96 yesterday, had gained 7% and 8%, respectively for the year-to-date and past one year periods.
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