Kroger Beats Analysts’ Estimates as Grocer Expands Online

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  • Supermarket chain has used acquisitions, e-commerce to grow
  • Kroger bought the Midwestern chain Roundy’s last year

Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain, reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates after delving deeper into organic food and expanding its e-commerce services.

Earnings rose to 70 cents a share in the period, which ended May 21, the Cincinnati-based grocer said in a statement Thursday. Analysts estimated 69 cents on average.

Kroger has been adding more organic products to its stores and gobbling up smaller grocery chains. The company spent more than $800 million, including debt, for the Midwestern supermarket company Roundy’s last year. Kroger also is pushing its ClickList and ExpressLane online-ordering programs into additional cities.

“We continued to strengthen our connection with customers and expand our ClickList offering to more customers,” Chief Executive Officer Rodney McMullen said in the statement.

The shares rose as much as 3.6 percent to $36.98 in New York after the results were released. Kroger’s stock had slipped 15 percent this year through Wednesday.

Despite profit beating estimates, Kroger’s sales were slightly lighter than expected. Same-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 2.4 percent in the first quarter. Analysts estimated a 2.5 percent gain, according to Consensus Metrix. Kroger’s revenue in the quarter was $34.6 billion, compared with a $34.7 billion projection.