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Kroger ends its streak


The Kroger Co. has broken its impressive record of 52 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth.

The supermarket giant on Thursday posted an unexpected decline in fourth-quarter same-store sales on Thursday amid ongoing food price deflation and increased competition.

Kroger’s net income fell to $506 million, or 53 cents per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 28, in line with estimates, and down from $559 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total sales increased a better-than-expected 5.5% to $27.6 billion, up from $26.2 billion for the same period last year.

Excluding fuel, same-store sales fell 0.7%, widely missing analysts' estimate of a 0.1% increase.

For the full year, Kroger’s net earnings totaled $1.98 billion, compared to $2.04 billion last year.

Total sales increased 5.0% to $115.3 billion.

“True to our history, we will continue making proactive investments in our Customer 1st Strategy to maintain our strong competitive position,” stated chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. “We are lowering costs to invest those savings in our people, our business, and technology. This approach will enable us to deliver on our long-term net earnings per diluted share growth rate target of 8% – 11%, plus an increasing dividend, as it has in the past.

McMullen pointed out that, in 2016, Kroger grew market share, increased tonnage, and hired more than 12,000 new store associates.

“For 2017 and beyond, we will continue delivering for our customers while also setting the company up for our next phase of growth and customer-first innovation,” he said.

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