(Adds details; updates shares)
June 19 Kroger Co, the biggest U.S.
supermarket operator, raised its forecast for full-year adjusted
profit and same-store sales growth, helped by its acquisition of
grocer Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc.
Shares of Kroger, which owns the Ralphs, Smith's and Food 4
Less chains, rose 4.5 percent in premarket trading after the
company also reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Kroger raised its adjusted profit forecast to $3.19-$3.27
per share for fiscal 2014 from $3.14-$3.25 per share.
The company said it expected sales, excluding fuel, to grow
at 3-4 percent at supermarkets open without expansion or
relocation for five quarters, higher than the 2.5-3.5 percent it
forecast in March.
Kroger completed the $2.5 billion acquisition of North
Carolina-based Harris Teeter on Jan. 29, adding more than 200
supermarkets, mostly in the U.S. southeast.
Kroger, whose rivals include Wal-Mart Stores Inc,
Safeway Inc and Whole Foods Market Inc, is seen
as one of the top performers in the hyper-competitive U.S.
Net income attributable to Kroger rose to $501 million, or
98 cents per share, in the first quarter ended May 24 from $481
million, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.09 per share.
Total sales rose 9.9 percent to $32.96 billion.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.05 per share
on revenue of $32.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore and Lisa
Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Kirti