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Kroger surges in Q3 with higher-than-expected sales and earnings

The Kroger Co. has regained its momentum in one of the retail industry's most competitive segments.

Kroger on Thursday reported net earnings of $397 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, in the quarter ended Nov. 4, compared to $391 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in the year-ago period. (This includes an incremental $111 million contribution to the UFCW Consolidated Pension Plan in the quarter.)

Total sales increased 4.5% to $27.7 billion, compared to $26.6 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.0%. Same store sales, without fuel, increased 1.1%. The company said it expects the figure to rise even more in the fourth quarter.

Kroger’s digital revenue more than doubled in the quarter, Bloomberg reported, and while the rise came off of a small base, it shows the company has a chance to compete with the likes of Amazon and Walmart.

In October, the retailer launched an initiative, "Restock Kroger," that includes investing $500 million in store employees, cutting costs to continue reducing product prices and the launch of a new apparel brand in 2018.

"This quarter shows that by investing for the future, our business continues to improve and gain momentum," said Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. "We remain confident in our ability to continue to grow identical supermarket store sales and market share for the balance of the year and in 2018."

"The holidays are always Kroger's time to shine," McMullen added. "In fact, we had our best ever Black Friday results for general merchandise, led by record sales at Fred Meyer.”
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