Kroger keeps 'financial triple play' in play

March 9, 2005
The Kroger Co announced preliminary results for the fourth quarter ended Jan 29, 2005.

The Kroger Co announced preliminary results for the fourth quarter ended Jan 29, 2005. These figures exclude a lease accounting correction for prior-year results. Total sales for the fourth quarter of 2004 increased 5.1% to $13.7 billion.

David B Dillon, Kroger chairman and chief executive officer, said the execution of Kroger's strategy produced strong cash flow, enabling the Cincinnati OH-based supermarket giant to continue its "financial triple play" of reducing total debt by nearly $400 million, repurchasing $318.7 million in stock, and investing $1.6 billion in capital projects.

Kroger reported a net loss of $675.9 million for the fourth quarter. In the year-ago period, Kroger reported a net loss of $337.4 million.

During the fourth quarter of 2004, Kroger repurchased about 4.2 million shares of stock at an average price of $16.52 for a total investment of $69.2 million. There is approximately $353 million remaining under the new $500 million stock buyback announced in September. Since January 2000, Kroger has invested $2.7 billion to repurchase 140.8 million shares.

For the full 2004 fiscal year, sales increased 4.9% to $56.4 billion, and Kroger reported a net loss of $128.0 million. For the full 2003 fiscal year, net earnings were $314.6 million.

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