ORLANDO, Fla. — A dearth of publicly traded supermarket peers is obscuring the industry’s underlying health from Wall Street, Michael Schlotman, Kroger’s chief financial officer, said at an investor conference here Thursday.
“There is a dwindling number of comparative companies to look at in our industry, so everybody thinks our industry is dying,” Schlotman said at the Morgan Stanley Restaurant & Retail conference, in response to a question about investor confidence in Kroger’s ability to maintain its performance.
“Publix, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Wegmans, WinCo — all of these companies are great full-service grocery operators doing just fine like we are. It’s just that a lot of people who invest for a living don’t recognize they exist, because they can’t own a piece of that action,” Schlotman added. “I’m not saying that I think you [investors] ought to understand those [companies] or spend time on them. … But the fact of the matter is the high end is doing just fine, the low end is doing just fine, and where we operate is doing just fine.”
In response to another question, Schlotman said he didn’t feel Kroger has been affected greatly by the delay in tax-refund payouts and said the company “hasn’t seen blips on the radar screen” as a result of the 2% increase in payroll taxes, but added he felt it was more of a positive than negative as it may increase meals at home.
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