Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) reported Thursday that its first quarter profit rose to $432.3 million, or 70 cents per share, from $373.7 million, or 58 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter. Revenue increased 11% to $27.5 billion from $24.76 billion. Analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of 64 cents per share on revenue of $26.48 billion.
"Our Customer 1st strategy is clearly connecting with customers," said David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer. "We have shown that our focus on people, products, prices and the shopping experience is meaningful to customers through both good and challenging times. As a result, we achieved strong performance across the company."
Kroger updated its identical supermarket sales and earnings guidance for fiscal 2011. The company now expects identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of 3.5% to 4.5% for the year. The previous guidance range was 3% to 4%. For the full year, Kroger increased its earnings guidance to $1.85 to $1.95 per diluted share. Based on the current operating environment, the company expects to achieve results near the top end of this range. The increase reflects the strength of the company's first quarter results and the higher estimated LIFO charge. The original guidance was $1.80 to $1.92 per diluted share.
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