Get All Access for FREEMarket News & Research,
Live Transcripts & Audio,
and a whole lot more…
$KR and privately-held EG Group announced a definitive agreement for the sale of $KR's convenience store business unit to EG Group for $2.15Bil. The companies expect to close the transaction during 1Q18. Kroger plans to use net proceeds from the sale to repurchase shares and to lower its net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio.
$KR introduced its Prep Pared Meal Kits to new markets. Prep Pared Meal Kit ingredients are fresh, seasonal, prepped and measured to precisely provide customers with only what is needed for each recipe so there is no waste. The kits feed two adults and range in price from $14 to $20.
$KR and International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced the ratification of a new labor agreement that provides for $KR's withdrawal from the Central States Pension Fund. The new labor agreement covers associates represented by the IBT at three distribution centers and two dairy manufacturing facilities operated by Kroger.
$KR said it is teaming up with Chase Pay, the digital engagement wallet from $JPM, to offer mobile payments starting with select retail markets and e-commerce programs in 2018. $KR's payment solutions are part of its Restock Kroger Plan, the strategy to create shareholder value by redefining how America eats.
$KR expects its few margins to moderate in 4Q17. With regard to gross margins in 3Q17, $KR has become significantly more diligent on lowering its cost of goods and negotiations with vendors. $KR's sales mix was very strong in 3Q17 relative to more natural foods and more its brands which helps drive its margin rate up.
Through Restock Kroger, $KR plans to invest an incremental $500MM in human capital in wages, training and development over the next three years. This will be in addition to $KR's continued efforts to rebalance pay and benefits while also focusing on certifications and performance incentives, career opportunities and training.
$KR expects Restock Kroger to generate $400MM in incremental operating profit margin over to three years from 2018 to 2020. $KR also expects to generate more than $4Bil of free cash flow after dividends over the next three years. $KR's goal is to continue generating shareholder value even as it makes strategic investments to grow business.
In 3Q17, $KR's brands continue to deliver strong performance making up 28.2% of unit sales and 25.6% of sales dollars excluding fuel and pharmacy. Simple Truth continues to resonate in a big way with its customers with sales growing 19% in 3Q17. Another Restock Kroger area is focused on accelerating cost of goods savings and sales leverage.
$KR said food retailing is more exciting than ever, more Americans identify as foodies and customers have more food choices than ever before. The company sees anyone who sells food as competitors which doubles the size of its market to $1.5 trillion.
$KR said it has its best ever Black Friday results for general merchandise, led by record sales at Fred Meyer. The company remains confident in its ability to continue to grow identical supermarket store sales and market share for the balance of the year and in 2018.
$KR confirmed its 2017 EPS guidance of $1.74-1.79 and adjusted EPS outlook of $2.00-2.05. This includes the effect of hurricanes. $KR sees capital investments, excluding mergers, acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, to be about $3Bil for 2017. $KR expects 4Q17 identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, to exceed 1.1%.
$KR reported an increase in 3Q17 earnings driven by higher sales. Net income rose to $397MM or $0.44 per share from $391MM or $0.41 per share last year. Sales grew 4.5% to $27.7Bil. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.0%. Identical supermarket sales growth, without fuel, was 1.1%.
$KR reported a rise in 3Q17 earnings driven by lower cost of goods and sales mix, despite continued price investments. The results includes strong core business results and strong fuel results, as well as an incremental $111MM contribution to the UFCW Consolidated Pension Plan in 3Q.
$KR announced the retirement of Central division President Katie Wolfram, effective Nov. 4, 2017. Pam Matthews, currently the QFC division president, will succeed Wolfram as president of Kroger's Central division, effective Oct. 23. Suzy Monford will join the company to succeed Matthews as the president of the QFC division, effective Oct. 23.
$KR reaffirmed FY17 guidance, including identical supermarket sales growth of 0.5-1.0%, excluding fuel, for the remainder of 2017. Net earnings are now seen at $1.74-1.79 per diluted share, including an estimated $0.09 for the 53rd week. Adjusted net earnings are expected at $2.00-2.05 per diluted share.
$KR said it will continue to pursue partnerships in the digital marketplace, while also looking for mergers in the brick and mortar business. The company will focus on creating additional innovation to promote its own food brands. Kroger expects that investments in ClickList, its online order platform, will impact margins in the coming quarters.