The Kroger Co. started off fiscal 2021 with digital growth as overall sales slipped.
Total company sales for the first quarter were $41.3 billion, down slightly from $41.5 billion the same period the prior year. Net profit sharply fell 88% to $140 million from $1.2 billion. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) decreased 2% to $1.19 from $1.22. Same-store sales excluding fuel dropped 4.1%.
However, digital sales rose 16% compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Kroger raised its full-year guidance of adjusted net earnings per diluted share to the range of $2.95 to $3.10; from $2.75 to $2.95 a share. The company also expects full-year same-store sales to decline between 2.5% and 4%.
"Kroger is even better positioned to connect with our customers than we were prior to the pandemic as a result of our relentless focus on leading with fresh and accelerating with digital,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Kroger. "Kroger's strong execution delivered identical sales results in the first quarter that exceeded our original expectations. Customers are responding to the investments we have made in digital, as evidenced by our triple-digit growth in digital sales since the beginning of 2019. We are raising our guidance based on the strength of our results and we remain confident in our ability to deliver consistently attractive total shareholder return."
Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 under a variety of banners across the U.S.