Kroger plunges after guidance comes up short

Apeel Sciences

  • Kroger reported fourth-quarter earnings and 2019 guidance that was below Wall Street expectations.
  • The stock fell more than 8% in pre-market trading Thursday morning.
  • Watch Kroger trade live.

Kroger reported disappointing fourth-quarter results and full-year fiscal 2019 guidance Thursday morning, sending shares down more than 8%.

Adjusted earnings per share came in at $US0.48, missing the $US0.53 that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. Total sales for fiscal year 2018 decreased 9.5% to $US28.1 billion, which included the effect of the company’s divestiture of its convenience store unit. Digital sales were up 59% year-on-year

Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen noted that the company continued to execute on its 2020 Restock Kroger restructuring plan, with identical sales ex-fuel up 1.8% for the quarter.

“We reached our FIFO operating profit goal and finished the year with sales and business momentum,” McMullen said in the press release. “We have a clear path to achieve $US400 million in incremental FIFO operating profit growth and $US6.5 billion in cumulative Restockcash flow by the end of 2020.”

The grocery-store chain provided 2019 full-year earnings guidance of $US2.15 to $US2.25, missing the Bloomberg consensus of $US2.28.

The company also noted that its board of directors raised its dividend for the 12th straight year in 2018, paying $US0.53 a share for fiscal year 2018.

Kroger was up 3.4% this year through Wednesday.

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