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Kroger reports Q1 sales rise of 19.1%

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Operating profit in the quarter was $1.3 billion.

Kroger reports Q1 sales rise of 19.1%
CINCINNATI – The Kroger Co. said fiscal first-quarter sales rose 19.1% to $42 billion.

Digital sales increased 92% in the quarter ended May 23, and same-store sales, excluding fuel, were up 19%, the company said Thursday. Operating profit in the quarter was $1.3 billion.

Kroger said it spent more than $830 million in the quarter “to support and safeguard associates, customers and communities.” Included in that total are “thank you” bonuses paid to frontline workers. Kroger said it made the latest installment of its bonus pay on Thursday.

The company also said it had allocated $236 million to multi-employer pension plans in the first quarter.

“I am proud of our associates who stepped up when we were called to be there for our customers, communities and each other,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. McMullen also said the company is proud to stand with its black associates, customers and communities against racism and for a more just and equitable society.

“As America enters the next phase of the pandemic, we know that our associates will continue to rise to meet the challenge, delivering Fresh for Everyone and helping our customers, communities and America emerge even stronger,” he said.

McMullen also provided an update on Restock Kroger, the three-year plan instituted in 2017 to redefine the grocery shopping experience and create shareholder value by serving America through food, inspiration and uplift.

“Under Restock Kroger, we have made significant investments over the last several years to establish a seamless digital ecosystem, strengthen Our Brands and our personalization capabilities, and to enhance product freshness and quality,” McMullen said in Thursday’s statement. “These investments helped Kroger deliver improved results in 2019, a strong start to the quarter, and very much came to the forefront as we provided our customers with the fresh food and essentials they have needed during the pandemic.”

The pandemic has “dramatically changed the outlook for food retail in 2020,” said Gary Millerchip, Kroger’s chief financial officer.

“We continue to monitor, evaluate and adjust our plans to address the impact to our business,” Millerchip said Thursday. “There are still many unknown factors related to the long-term impact of COVID-19 that could influence our financial results for the remainder of 2020.” These include:

  • Continued investments to help our customers and employees.
  • Uncertainty surrounding consumer behavior, restrictions and what will be the new normal.
  • Potential long-term shift in customers eating more food at home.

“In recognition of these factors, it is difficult to predict specific outcomes and as such Kroger is not reaffirming or providing new 2020 guidance,” Millerchip said. “While we expect to exceed the outlook shared in our April 1 business update for identical sales without fuel, adjusted FIFO operating profit, adjusted EPS and adjusted free cash flow, the company is not able to forecast the extent of such upside for the reasons mentioned above.”


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