Kroger, the US grocery retailer, has announced results for the third quarter ended 8 November 2008. Total sales rose 9% to USD17.6 billion while identical stores sales, excluding fuel, rose 5.6%. Net earnings in Q3 amounted to USD237.7 million, compared to the USD253.8 million reported during the same period last year. This quarter’s results include an after-tax charge of USD15.9 million related to Kroger's USD25 million insurance deductible for disruption and damage caused by Hurricane Ike. Excluding the charge from Hurricane Ike, Q3 net earnings were USD253.6 million.
Kroger Chief Executive Officer David Dillon said: "Kroger's sales continue to be strong in this tough economy. We know our customers are increasingly feeling pressured in today's environment. Kroger's focus on low prices, quality products and providing a convenient, one-stop solution for their daily needs is resonating with our customers. Kroger's balance sheet is strong. Our company's financial strength has been a competitive advantage for several years, and is even more so in the current environment. Kroger's strong financial position gives us the flexibility to continue investments in our successful Customer 1st strategy and store base that will create value for our shareholders in the future while delivering near-term financial results." Kroger confirmed its identical supermarket sales guidance for fiscal 2008, and said it expects full-year identical supermarket sales growth of 4.5-5.5%, excluding fuel. For fiscal 2009, the company is projecting identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of 3-5%.