Kroger posts higher profit, raises full year earnings target

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:59am EST

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, reported a higher quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday.

Shares of Kroger rose 4.7 percent to $26.25 in premarket trading.

The company, which operates grocery chains such as Kroger, Ralphs, Smith's and Food 4 Less, reported net income of $316.5 million, or 60 cents per share, for the third quarter ended on Nov. 3, compared with $195.9 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding benefits from a settlement with credit card companies and a reduction in its obligation to fund a union pension fund, Kroger said it had earned 46 cents a share in the latest quarter.

Total sales, including fuel, increased 5.9 percent to $21.81 billion, topping the analysts' average estimate of $21.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Kroger raised its full-year outlook for earnings per share, excluding the two special items, to a range of $2.44 to $2.46. It had previously forecast $2.35 to $2.42.