Kroger sees upbeat 2022 as pandemic-fueled grocery demand sustains

Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at a Kroger supermarket in suburban Memphis, Tennessee, September 23, 2021.

Joe Rondone | The Commercial Appeal | USA Today | via Reuters

Kroger forecast annual same-store sales and profit above market expectations on Thursday, betting on strong demand for groceries as the pandemic-induced home-cooking trend holds strong, sending shares up about 4% in premarket trading.

Despite the reopening of restaurants and bars, Americans have stuck to cooking and eating more at home as they did during the lockdowns, due in part to hybrid-work trends, boosting sales at grocers.

The company said it expects adjusted same-store sales to rise 2% to 3% in fiscal year 2022, compared with analysts’ average estimate of a 2.1% increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The supermarket chain, which operates nearly 2,800 stores across the United States, said it expects adjusted earnings per share between $3.75 and $3.85 for the year, well above estimates of $3.45.

Kroger’s same-store sales, excluding fuel, climbed 4% in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29, topping expectations for a 2.84% rise.

Big-box rival Walmart also forecast higher earnings and sales for the year after posting its largest-ever holiday season sales last month, while Target earlier this week forecast an upbeat 2022 saying it expects supply chain pressures to ease later in the year.

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