CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here reported record sales and earnings in its first quarter, ended March 21.
ared with earnings before extraordinary charges in last year's first quarter.
Operating cash flow rose 8.2% to $335.0 million, from $309.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
Sales increased 4.1% to a record $6.4 billion, compared with $6.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. Identical food-store sales rose 0.72%, while comparable-store sales, which include relocations and expansions, increased 2.5% in the quarter, the company said. Kroger opened, expanded or relocated 11 food stores during the first quarter, increasing food-store square footage by 3.7%
Kroger chairman and chief executive officer, Joseph A. Pichler, said the first-quarter performance showed Kroger's ability to sustain sales while cutting costs and executing its capital expenditures program.
In addition, he said, the sales and profits of Kroger brand products continue to grow. Pichler said the positive results were achieved in spite of competition and the lack of significant food price inflation.
"Kroger's strong capital investment is strengthening the company's strategic advantage in combination store formats, technology and logistics," he said.