By Dhirendra Tripathi
Investing.com – Kroger (NYSE:KR) stock soared 10% Thursday after the food retailer’s fourth quarter sales and earnings comfortably beat estimates, benefiting from its focus on delivering orders right at the doorstep of the consumers.
Sales at the retailer have stayed elevated as the pandemic-induced change in food habits has lasted. More people are choosing to cook at home and keeping stocks of food and other groceries higher than usual. They also prefer to order online, a trend Kroger has caught and is responding to.
In the fourth quarter ended January 29, Kroger teamed up with DoorDash in the Houston and Dallas divisions for fresh floral delivery to customers in less than an hour.
It opened a fulfillment center at Forest Park in Georgia in the latest quarter and plans to open one in Cleveland and another in North Carolina.
Its heft in negotiations with suppliers and increasing automation helped it expand margins at a time when most retailers have struggled with surging costs. Kroger operates nearly 2,800 stores in U.S.
The company said it expects adjusted same-store sales to rise 2% to 3% in the current financial year. Total company sales in 2021 were $138 billion, with identical sales without fuel up 0.2% in 2021.
Total company sales were $33 billion in the fourth quarter while identical sales rose 4%. Adjusted profit per share rose 10 cents to 91 cents to beat estimates.