Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) announced earnings for the fourth quarter and full-year fiscal 2014 period and the numbers were very positive. The company attributed the strong showing to lower gas prices and better than expected inventory charges. They showed very strong core operating results in the effort and that bolstered both top and bottom line results. For the year ending 2014, they showed revenue coming in at $25.2 billion, which was a year-over-year growth of 8.5%. Bottom line earnings were $1.04 per share, which was 33% better than the same period a year ago. The EPS number blew away estimates by 14 cents and that helped boost the stock in trading also.
The company had acquired Harris Teeter in the fourth quarter of last year and that helped boost profits also. In the fourth quarter the company had revenues of $25 million and that was a same-quarter boost of over 8%. The company employed what it titled its Customer 1st strategy, which focused on enhancing the customers experience by providing customer service that far and beyond the normal standards. Same store sales also rose by an average of 6%. Not including fuel centers, they were responsible for $20 million in sales. The company is expecting same-store sales to rise by another 3% this year and also slightly raised forward guidance for the 2015 period. Operating income rose 27% to $912 million and operating margins were expanded by 50 BPS to 3.6%.
Big Box Competitors
The Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) competes with big-box discounters like Target and it did a good job not getting sucked into the deep discounting battles of the previous holiday season. This helped keep their bottom line strong and allowed then to maximize revenue. The company also bought back 28.4 million shares, adding more value to the existing float. The company currently operates 2,625 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states under approximately 24 local brands.
The stock has been on a long uptrend and it looks like it is about to bounce off its 50-day MA. If it does, another attempt at the 52-week high is in order.