Kroger is reporting a 4 percent jump in first-quarter profit and the nation's biggest supermarket raised its earnings forecast for the year. (David J. Phillip / AP)
Cincinnati — Kroger saw a 4 percent jump in first-quarter profit and the nation’s biggest supermarket raised its earnings forecast for the year.
Shares rose more than 3 percent before the opening bell Thursday and appear to be headed for an all-time high.
The Cincinnati company — which also runs Ralphs, Fry’s and other chains — earned $501 million, or 98 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with $481 million, or 92 cents per share, a year ago.
Removing non-recurring charges, The Kroger Co. earned $1.09 per share, four cents better than analysts polled by FactSet had been projecting.
Revenue jumped 10 percent to $32.96 billion, which also edged out expectations due in part due to a new acquisition, the grocer and pharmacy Harris Teeter.
Sales at established locations climbed 4.6 percent, excluding fuel. Those comparable-stores sales can be a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes volatility from locations recently opened or closed.
Kroger now foresees fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings between $3.19 and $3.27 per share. Previously it predicted $3.14 to $3.25 per share.
The company also increased its full-year guidance for sales at established locations, excluding fuel. It now anticipates 3 percent to 4 percent growth. Its prior outlook was for a 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent increase.
Kroger’s stock added $1.73, or 3.7 percent, to $49 in premarket trading.