Kroger Co. on Thursday reported fourth-quarter sales and earnings that were better than analysts had expected, and forecast more robust growth in its new fiscal year.
The retailer said improved fuel margins in the quarter contributed to earnings, while non-fuel comparable store sales increased by 6%, reflecting increased consumer confidence and willingness to spend discrentionary income provided by lower gas prices. The Cincinnati company's guidance for quarterly comps had been 4.5%.
Sales for the quarter, which ended Jan. 31, totaled $25.2 billion, an increase of 8.5%. Net earnings of $518 million increased by 22.7%.
For the fiscal year, sales increased 10.3% to to $108.5 billion.
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