There is beating The Street's expectations on earnings, and then there is smashing them to pieces.
Kroger's latest earnings report indicates a bit more of the latter than the former, as Kroger Co. blasted through Wall Street Q1 2016 predictions more than once.
Net earnings were up $680 million, a 9.9-percent increase from the $619 million reported at this time last year and ahead of Wall Street analysts' predictions. Kroger did report a small decline in gross margin, however, that was offset by reductions in operating expenses.
Sales met The Street's expectations with 5-percent growth to $34.6 billion from $33.1 billion, but same-store sales were ahead of what Wall Street was forecasting, hitting a 2.4-percent increase (excluding fuel).
“We are very pleased with a solid quarter during which we continued to strengthen our connection with customers and expand our ClickList offering to more customers in more markets,” said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen. “Fifty consecutive quarters of positive identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, is extraordinary. We've been through all kinds of business cycles during the last 50 quarters, and we've demonstrated time and again that regardless of the environment, you can count on Kroger to continue executing our strategy, investing in growth and creating value for our customers and shareholders."
McMullen further acknowledged Kroger’s growing omnichannel click-and-collect program, among other factors, as a catalyst for financial growth.