CINCINNATI -- Kroger here reported that sales and net earnings climbed in the 16-week third quarter and 40 weeks ended Oct. 5.
were up 0.9%; comparable-store sales, which include expanded and relocated stores, rose 3.7%. Net income after a $928,000 charge for early debt retirement was $71.4 million, up 16.7% from $61.2 million a year before. Before the charge, earnings were cut 2 cents a share due to work stoppages at King Soopers, Kroger's Denver division.
For the 40 weeks, sales rose 4.95% to $18.97 billion from $18.08 billion a year earlier. Net earnings climbed 13.75% to $224.4 million from $197.3 million. Kroger did not report same-store results for the 40 weeks.
Kroger achieved positive quarterly results despite adverse effects from sharpened competition; Hurricane Fran, which temporarily shut 25 Southeastern stores last month; high ingredient costs for ice cream and dairy products, and the Colorado strike, noted Joseph A. Pichler, chairman and chief executive officer.