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Kroger tops Q3 profit, misses on sales


The nation’s largest supermarket operator reported profit that surpassed Wall Street expectations and raised its annual forecast.

Kroger Co.’s third-quarter earnings rose 18% to $428 million.

Revenue inched up 0.4% to $25.08 billion for the quarter, ended Nov. 7. missing Street forecasts of $25.22 billion. Kroger cited lower fuel prices as impacting sales.

Same-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 5.4%, more than expected. It was the chain’s 48th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth (excluding fuel.)

“Kroger's consistent results demonstrate once again that our relentless focus on customers is the key to sustainable shareholder returns,” said chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. “We continue to implement our growth plan and expect to exceed our long-term net earnings per diluted share growth rate for fiscal 2015."

Kroger said profit will be as much as $2.04 a share this fiscal year, excluding some items. It previously estimated as much as $1.98 a share, and analysts project $1.99, on average.

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