Kroger lifts forecast after stronger third quarter

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm •  Published: November 29, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger Co. is raising its earnings outlook for the year after the nation's largest traditional supermarket chain reported a third-quarter profit that topped Wall Street expectations.

The company, which also operates Fry's, Food 4 Less and Ralphs, has been working to improve the shopping experience and build customer loyalty as it fends off competition from specialty grocers such as Whole Foods and big-box retailers such as Target, as well as dollar stores and drugstore chains.

As shopping habits change, the Cincinnati-based company has also been experimenting with new formats such as its larger "Marketplace" stores that have a bigger footprint and sell general merchandise in addition to groceries. It has also opened about a dozen smaller "Ruler" stores that focus primarily on cheaper, private-label products.

In an interview, CEO Dave Dillon has said that Kroger's supermarket format would continue to evolve to remain relevant. He noted that the boundaries between supermarkets, big-box retailers and dollar stores are also blurring.

For the three months ended Nov. 3, the company said revenue at locations open at least a year rose 3.2 percent. The metric is a key gauge of health because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.