Krogerís net earnings rise
in fiscal 2009 first quarter
Jun 27, 2009 1:36 PM
The Kroger Co has reported net earnings totaling $435.1 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 ended May 23, 2009. This compares with net earnings of $386.0 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, in the same period of 2008.
Total sales, including fuel, in the first quarter were $22.8 billion versus $23.1 billion for the same period a year ago. During the quarter, the average retail price for a gallon of gas sold at Krogerís fuel outlets was 41% lower than it was in the first quarter last year. Excluding fuel sales, total sales increased 3.9% over the prior year. Identical supermarket sales, excluding fuel, rose 3.1% over the same period in 2008.
Net total debt was $7.4 billion, a decrease of $242.9 million from a year ago. On a rolling four-quarters basis, Krogerís net total debt to EBITDA ratio was 1.78 compared with 1.95 during the same period a year ago. Kroger expects to continue to improve its debt coverages on a year-over-year basis.
During the first quarter, Kroger repurchased 950,000 shares of stock at an average price of $20.83 per share for a total investment of $19.8 million. At the end of the quarter, $476.1 million remained under the $1 billion stock repurchase program announced in January 2008.
Kroger confirmed its expectations for full-year identical supermarket sales growth of 3% to 4%, without fuel, for fiscal 2009. This guidance reflects the companyís outlook for product cost inflation of 1% to 2%.
The supermarket chain also confirmed its full-year 2009 earnings outlook of $2.00 to $2.05 per diluted share.
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