June 19, 2014 / 1:30 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kroger raises profit forecast on Harris Teeter buy

(Adds details; updates shares)

June 19 (Reuters) - 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. supermarket industry.

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 I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Kirti Pandey)

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