Kroger's fiscal year is off to a strong start

July 1, 2005
The Kroger Co has reported net earnings of $294.3 million for the first quarter ended May 21, 2005, compared with net earnings of $262.8 million in the

The Kroger Co has reported net earnings of $294.3 million for the first quarter ended May 21, 2005, compared with net earnings of $262.8 million in the year-ago period.

Total sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 rose 6.2% to $17.9 billion. Identical supermarket sales increased 3.8% with fuel and 2.4% without fuel.

In the fiscal 2005 first quarter, the Cincinnati OH-based supermarket giant repurchased 9.5 million shares of stock at an average price of $16.06 for a total investment of $153 million. About $208 million remains under the $500 million stock buyback announced in September 2004. Since January 2000, Kroger has invested $2.9 billion to repurchase 150.3 million shares — equivalent to approximately 17% of the company. Kroger continues to buy back stock, and its debt now totals $7.5 billion, a reduction of $508.7 million from a year ago.

The company continues to rebuild its business in Southern California. Identical supermarket sales without fuel at both Ralphs and Food 4 Less were positive in the first quarter; on a combined basis, they gained 1.3% over the prior-year period.

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