Press Release

Kroger Reports Record Second Quarter Results

Q2 EPS of $0.70; Raises FY 2014 Adjusted EPS Guidance to $3.22 to $3.28

ID Sales Up 4.8% Without Fuel; Raises FY 2014 ID Sales Guidance to 3.5% to 4.25%

Company Release - 9/11/2014 8:30 AM ET

CINCINNATI, Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today reported net earnings of $347 million, or $0.70 per diluted share, and identical supermarket sales growth, without fuel, of 4.8% in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014.  Net earnings in the same period last year were $317 million, or $0.60 per diluted share.

Other highlights of the quarter include:

  • Achieved 43rd consecutive quarter of positive identical supermarket sales growth
  • Exceeded goal to slightly expand FIFO operating margin, without fuel, on a rolling four quarters basis
  • Increased capital investment and increased ROIC

"We are winning with customers because we offer a full range of advantages including a great overall shopping experience, excellent customer service, a complete assortment of both national and corporate brand products, and everyday low prices and promotional offerings," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chief executive officer. "As we improve our connection with customers, we are also executing our growth plan and delivering on our key performance indicators -- all of which is fueling strong financial results for shareholders."

Details of Second Quarter 2014 Results

This is the second consecutive quarter that includes Harris Teeter in Kroger's statement of operations.  Year-over-year percentage comparisons are affected as a result.

Total sales increased 11.6% to $25.3 billion in the second quarter compared to $22.7 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 12.4% in the second quarter over the same period last year.  

Kroger recorded a $26 million LIFO charge during the second quarter compared to a $13 million LIFO charge in the same quarter last year.  The company increased its LIFO estimate for the year to $100 million, resulting in an incremental $0.01 per diluted share charge to earnings in the second quarter. The effect of this charge is included in the company's updated guidance for 2014.

FIFO gross margin was 20.54% of sales for the second quarter. Excluding retail fuel operations, FIFO gross margin decreased 12 basis points from the same period last year.

Operating, general and administrative costs plus rent and depreciation, excluding retail fuel operations, were essentially flat as a percent of sales compared to the prior year. Increases in workers compensation and general liability reserves negatively affected this comparison by 8 basis points.

Second quarter FIFO operating profit, excluding fuel, increased approximately $40 million over the prior year. On a rolling four quarters basis excluding fuel and adjustment items, the company's FIFO operating margin increased 7 basis points.

Financial Strategy

Kroger's strong financial position allowed the company to return more than $1.9 billion to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends over the last four quarters. During the second quarter, Kroger repurchased 1.6 million common shares for a total investment of $78 million.

Capital investments, excluding mergers, acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, totaled $672 million for the second quarter, compared to $507 million for the same period last year.

Return on invested capital, on a rolling four quarters basis as described in table 7, was 13.6%, an increase from 13.5% in the same period last year.

Kroger remains committed to achieving a 2.00 – 2.20 net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio by mid-to-late 2015.  Kroger took on debt to finance the Harris Teeter merger, and has not yet realized a full year of Harris Teeter EBITDA.  This has caused a significant increase in the company's net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio, which is 2.33 as of the close of the second quarter, compared to 1.77 during the same period last year, as described in table 5. 

Kroger's net total debt is $11.2 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion from a year ago, including debt related to the Harris Teeter transaction and Kroger's share repurchase activity. 

Fiscal 2014 Guidance

Based on the second quarter results, the company raised and narrowed its adjusted net earnings per diluted share guidance to a range of $3.22 to $3.28 for fiscal 2014. The previous guidance was $3.19 to $3.27 per diluted share. 

The company's long-term net earnings per diluted share growth rate guidance remains 8 – 11%, plus a growing dividend. 

Kroger raised its identical supermarket sales growth guidance, excluding fuel, to 3.5% to 4.25% for fiscal 2014.  The previous guidance was 3.0% to 4.0%.  

Kroger continues to use cash flow from operations to maintain its current investment grade debt rating, repurchase shares, grow its dividend, and fund capital investments. The company continues to expect capital investments excluding mergers, acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, to be in the $2.8 to $3.0 billion range for the year, including those for Harris Teeter.

"We are accelerating core business growth and investing to create unique competitive positioning for today and the future," Mr. McMullen said. "Based on our strong quarter results, we raised our net earnings per diluted share and identical supermarket sales growth guidance for the year.  We are well on our way to achieving a 13 – 15% net-earnings-per-diluted-share growth rate, including net accretion to earnings from the Harris Teeter merger, plus the dividend for fiscal 2014."

Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,638 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.  The company also operates 785 convenience stores, 324 fine jewelry stores, 1,271 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.  Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.

Note: Fuel sales have historically had a low FIFO gross margin rate and OG&A rate as compared to corresponding rates on non-fuel sales. As a result Kroger discusses the changes in these rates excluding the effect of retail fuel operations.

This press release contains certain statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" about the future performance of the company. These statements are based on management's assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. These statements are indicated by words such as "expect," "believe," "guidance," "plans," "committed," "goal," "will" and "continue." Various uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These include the specific risk factors identified in "Risk Factors" and "Outlook" in our annual report on Form 10-K for our last fiscal year and any subsequent filings, as well as the following:

  • Our ability to achieve identical sales, earnings and cash flow goals may be affected by: labor negotiations or disputes; changes in the types and numbers of businesses that compete with us; pricing and promotional activities of existing and new competitors, including non-traditional competitors, and the aggressiveness of that competition; our response to these actions; the state of the economy, including interest rates, the inflationary and deflationary trends in certain commodities, and the unemployment rate; the effect that fuel costs have on consumer spending; volatility of fuel margins; changes in government-funded benefit programs; manufacturing commodity costs; diesel fuel costs related to our logistics operations; trends in consumer spending; the extent to which our customers exercise caution in their purchasing in response to economic conditions; the inconsistent pace of the economic recovery; changes in inflation or deflation in product and operating costs; stock repurchases; our ability to retain additional pharmacy sales from third party payors; consolidation in the healthcare industry, including pharmacy benefit managers; natural disasters or adverse weather conditions; the potential costs and risks associated with potential cyber-attacks and data security breaches; the success of our future growth plans; and the successful integration of Harris Teeter.  The extent to which the adjustments we are making to our strategy create value for our shareholders will depend primarily on the reaction of our customers and our competitors to these adjustments, as well as operating conditions, including inflation or deflation, and increased competitive activity.  Our ability to achieve sales and earnings goals may also be affected by our ability to manage the factors identified above.
  • Our ability to use free cash flow to continue to maintain our investment grade debt rating and repurchase shares, pay dividends, and fund capital investments, could be affected by unanticipated increases in net total debt, our inability to generate free cash flow at the levels anticipated, and our failure to generate expected earnings.
  • Our capital investments could differ from our estimate if we are unsuccessful in acquiring suitable sites for new stores, if development costs vary from those budgeted, if our logistics and technology or store projects are not completed on budget or within the time frame projected, or if economic conditions fail to improve, or worsen.

We assume no obligation to update the information contained herein. Please refer to Kroger's reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties.

Note: Kroger's quarterly conference call with investors will be broadcast live online at 10 a.m. (ET) on September 11, 2014 at ir.kroger.com. An on-demand replay of the webcast will be available from approximately 1 p.m. (ET) Thursday, September 11 through Thursday, September 25, 2014.

2nd Quarter 2014 Tables Include:

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

SUPPLEMENTAL SALES INFORMATION

RECONCILIATION OF TOTAL DEBT TO NET TOTAL DEBT AND NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. TO ADJUSTED EBITDA

NET EARNINGS PER DILUTED SHARE EXCLUDING ADJUSTMENT ITEMS

RETURN ON INVESTED CAPITAL

 

Table 1.

THE KROGER CO.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in millions, except per share amounts)

(unaudited)




























SECOND QUARTER


YEAR-TO-DATE







2014


2013


2014


2013






















SALES






$     25,310


100.0%


$     22,686


100.0%


$     58,271


100.0%


$     52,683


100.0%























MERCHANDISE COSTS, INCLUDING ADVERTISING,


















WAREHOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION (a),


















AND LIFO CHARGE (b)

20,136


79.6


18,059


79.6


46,201


79.3


41,876


79.5


OPERATING, GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE (a)

3,920


15.5


3,506


15.5


9,088


15.6


8,099


15.4


RENT

166


0.7


139


0.6


383


0.7


328


0.6


DEPRECIATION

444


1.8


387


1.7


1,025


1.8


906


1.7
























OPERATING PROFIT 

644


2.5


595


2.6


1,574


2.7


1,474


2.8























INTEREST EXPENSE

112


0.4


99


0.4


259


0.4


228


0.4
























NET EARNINGS BEFORE INCOME TAX EXPENSE

532


2.1


496


2.2


1,315


2.3


1,246


2.4























INCOME TAX EXPENSE 

182


0.7


176


0.8


456


0.8


442


0.8
























NET EARNINGS INCLUDING NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS

350


1.4


320


1.4


859


1.5


804


1.5
























NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO



















NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS

3


0.0


3


0.0


11


0.0


6


0.0
























NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. 

$           347


1.4%


$           317


1.4%


$          848


1.5%


$          798


1.5%
























NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.



















PER BASIC COMMON SHARE

$          0.71




$          0.61




$         1.70




$         1.54


























AVERAGE NUMBER  OF COMMON SHARES USED IN



















BASIC CALCULATION

485




515




494




515


























NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.



















PER DILUTED COMMON SHARE

$          0.70




$          0.60




$         1.68




$         1.52


























AVERAGE NUMBER  OF COMMON SHARES USED IN



















DILUTED CALCULATION

491




521




500




520

























DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE

$        0.165




$       0.150




$       0.330




$       0.300













































Note:

Certain per share amounts and percentages may not sum due to rounding.





Note:

The Company defines FIFO gross profit as sales minus merchandise costs, including advertising, warehousing and transportation, but excluding the Last-In First-Out (LIFO) charge.




The Company defines FIFO gross margin, as described in the earnings release, as FIFO gross profit divided by sales.




The Company defines FIFO operating profit as operating profit excluding the LIFO charge.




The Company defines FIFO operating margin, as described in the earnings release, as FIFO operating profit divided by sales.




The above FIFO financial metrics are important measures used by management to evaluate operational effectiveness.  Management believes these FIFO financial metrics are useful to investors and analysts because they measure our day-to-day operational effectiveness.





(a)

Merchandise costs and operating, general and administrative expenses exclude depreciation expense and rent expense which are included in separate expense lines.





(b)

LIFO charges of $26 and $13 were recorded in the second quarter of 2014 and 2013, respectively.  For the year to date period, LIFO charges of $54 and $30 were recorded for 2014 and 2013, respectively.





Note:

Certain prior-year amounts have been reclassified to conform to current-year presentation.

 

 

Table 2.

THE KROGER CO.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(in millions)

(unaudited)


















August 16,


August 17,








2014


2013











ASSETS








Current Assets









Cash





$                248


$                226


Temporary cash investments



-


214


Store deposits in-transit




956


850


Receivables





1,174


942


Inventories





5,495


4,954


Prepaid and other current assets



422


332













Total current assets




8,295


7,518











Property, plant and equipment, net



17,263


15,084

Intangibles





695


149

Goodwill





2,135


1,234

Other assets





691


487













Total Assets





$          29,079


$          24,472





















LIABILITIES AND SHAREOWNERS' EQUITY





Current liabilities









Current portion of long-term debt including obligations






under capital leases and financing obligations


$            1,494


$                734


Trade accounts payable




5,076


4,620


Accrued salaries and wages



1,128


1,013


Deferred income taxes




248


288


Other current liabilities




2,894


2,703













Total current liabilities




10,840


9,358











Long-term debt including obligations under capital leases




and financing obligations








Face-value of long-term debt including obligations under






capital leases and financing obligations


9,707


7,159


Adjustment to reflect fair-value interest rate hedges


(1)


(1)


Long-term debt including obligations under capital leases






and financing obligations



9,706


7,158











Deferred income taxes




1,280


778

Pension and postretirement benefit obligations


899


1,205

Other long-term liabilities




1,332


1,125













Total Liabilities




24,057


19,624











Shareowners' equity





5,022


4,848













Total Liabilities and Shareowners' Equity


$          29,079


$          24,472











Total common shares outstanding at end of period


486


516

Total diluted shares year-to-date



500


520





















Note: Certain prior-year amounts have been reclassified to conform to current-year presentation.

 

 

Table 3.

THE KROGER CO.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(in millions)

(unaudited)
















YEAR-TO-DATE







2014


2013










CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:





Net earnings including noncontrolling interests

$                859


$                804


Adjustments to reconcile net earnings including noncontrolling






interests to net cash provided by operating activities:







Depreciation

1,025


906




LIFO charge

54


30




Stock-based employee compensation

76


47




Expense for Company-sponsored pension plans

21


40




Deferred income taxes

(103)


(16)




Other

53


40




Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net








of effects from acquisitions of businesses:









Store deposits in-transit

2


105






Receivables

(47)


107






Inventories

102


162






Prepaid and other current assets

274


246






Trade accounts payable

354


180






Accrued expenses

60


1






Income taxes receivable and payable

(47)


82






Other

67


(121)











Net cash provided by operating activities

2,750


2,613



















CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:





Payments for property and equipment, including payments for lease buyouts

(1,347)


(1,110)


Proceeds from sale of assets

18


7


Other



16


(34)











Net cash used by investing activities

(1,313)


(1,137)



















CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:





Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt

48


1,011


Payments on long-term debt

(26)


(419)


Net payments on commercial paper

(160)


(1,595)


Dividends paid

(166)


(155)


Excess tax benefits on stock-based awards

32


20


Proceeds from issuance of capital stock

66


155


Treasury stock purchases

(1,221)


(236)


Net decrease in book overdrafts

(158)


(40)


Other



(5)


(15)











Net cash used by financing activities

(1,590)


(1,274)



















NET INCREASE (DECREASE) IN CASH AND TEMPORARY





CASH INVESTMENTS

(153)


202



















CASH AND TEMPORARY CASH INVESTMENTS:





BEGINNING OF YEAR

401


238


END OF QUARTER

$                248


$                440



















Reconciliation of capital investments:





Payments for property and equipment, including payments for lease buyouts

$           (1,347)


$           (1,110)


Payments for lease buyouts

28


19


Changes in construction-in-progress payables

(63)


(56)



Total capital investments, excluding lease buyouts

$           (1,382)


$           (1,147)










Disclosure of cash flow information:






Cash paid during the year for interest

$                282


$                225



Cash paid during the year for income taxes

$                582


$                349

 

 

Table 4. Supplemental Sales Information

(in millions, except percentages)

(unaudited)












Items identified below should not be considered as alternatives to sales or any other GAAP measure of performance. Identical supermarket sales is an industry-specific measure and it is important to review it in conjunction with Kroger's financial results reported in accordance with GAAP. Other companies in our industry may calculate identical sales differently than Kroger does, limiting the comparability of the measure. These results include Harris Teeter sales for stores that are identical as if they were part of Kroger in the prior year.



IDENTICAL SUPERMARKET SALES (a)
















SECOND QUARTER


YEAR-TO-DATE





2014


2013


2014


2013














INCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


$         22,621


$         21,492


$         52,287


$         49,950



EXCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


$         18,875


$         18,009


$         43,824


$         41,864














INCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


5.3%


4.0%


4.7%


3.3%



EXCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


4.8%


3.3%


4.7%


3.3%


































(a)

Kroger defines a supermarket as identical when it has been open without expansion or relocation for five full quarters.


 

 

Table 5.  Reconciliation of Net Total Debt and

Net Earnings Attributable to The Kroger Co. to Adjusted EBITDA

(in millions, except for ratio)

(unaudited)








The items identified below should not be considered an alternative to any GAAP measure of performance or access to liquidity. Net total debt to adjusted EBITDA is an important measure used by management to evaluate the Company's access to liquidity. The items below should be reviewed in conjunction with Kroger's financial results reported in accordance with GAAP.








The following table provides a reconciliation of net total debt.
















August 16,


August 17,





2014


2013


Change








Current portion of long-term debt including obligations







   under capital leases and financing obligations


$           1,494


$           734


$        760

Face-value of long-term debt including obligations under







   capital leases and financing obligations


9,707


7,159


2,548

Adjustment to reflect fair-value interest rate hedges


(1)


(1)


-








     Total debt


$         11,200


$        7,892


$     3,308








Less: Temporary cash investments


-


214


(214)








     Net total debt


$         11,200


$        7,678


$     3,522















The following table provides a reconciliation from net earnings attributable to The Kroger Co. to adjusted EBITDA, as defined in the Company's credit agreement, on a rolling four quarters 52 week basis. The table below includes two quarters of Harris Teeter's operations in the rolling four quarters ended August 16, 2014.





 Rolling Four Quarters Ended 





August 16,


August 17,





2014


2013










Net earnings attributable to The Kroger Co.


$           1,569


$        1,577



LIFO


77


4



Depreciation


1,822


1,674



Interest expense


474


443



Income tax expense


765


856



Adjustments for the UFCW consolidated pension plan liability







     and credit card settlement 


-


(115)



53rd week EBITDA adjustment


-


(99)



Adjustments for the pension plan agreements


87


-



Other


7


(7)










Adjusted EBITDA


$           4,801


$        4,333










Net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio on a 52 week basis


2.33


1.77



 

 

Table 6. Net Earnings Per Diluted Share Excluding the Adjustment Items

(in millions, except per share amounts)

(unaudited)















The purpose of this table is to better illustrate comparable operating results from our ongoing business, after removing the effects on net earnings per diluted common share of certain items described below. Items identified in this table should not be considered alternatives to net earnings attributable to The Kroger Co. or any other GAAP measure of performance. These items should not be reviewed in isolation or considered substitutes for the Company's financial results as reported in accordance with GAAP. Due to the nature of these items, as further described below, it is important to identify these items and to review them in conjunction with the Company's financial results reported in accordance with GAAP.



The following table summarizes items that affected the Company's financial results during the periods presented. In 2014, these items include charges related to the restructuring of certain pension obligations. In 2013, The Kroger Co. did not have any adjustment items.























SECOND QUARTER


SECOND QUARTER


YEAR-TO-DATE


YEAR-TO-DATE








2014


2013


2014


2013
















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.


$                            347


$                            317


$                            848


$                            798
















ADJUSTMENTS FOR PENSION PLAN AGREEMENTS (a) (b)


-


-


56


-
















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.











EXCLUDING THE ADJUSTMENT ITEM ABOVE


$                            347


$                            317


$                            904


$                            798
















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. 











PER DILUTED COMMON SHARE



$                           0.70


$                           0.60


$                           1.68


$                           1.52
















ADJUSTMENTS FOR PENSION PLAN AGREEMENTS (c) 


-


-


0.11


-
















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. PER 











DILUTED COMMON SHARE EXCLUDING THE ADJUSTMENT ITEM ABOVE


$                           0.70


$                           0.60


$                           1.79


$                           1.52
















AVERAGE NUMBER  OF COMMON SHARES USED IN











DILUTED CALCULATION



491


521


500


520















(a)

The amounts presented represent the after-tax effect of each adjustment.















(b)

The pre-tax adjustment for the pension plan agreements was $87.















(c) 

The amounts presented represent the net earnings per diluted common share effect of each adjustment.

 

 

Table 7.  Return on Invested Capital

(in millions, except percentages)

(unaudited)



Return on invested capital should not be considered an alternative to any GAAP measure of performance. Return on invested capital is an important measure used by management to evaluate our investment returns on capital and our effectiveness in deploying our assets. Return on invested capital should not be reviewed in isolation or considered as a substitute for our financial results as reported in accordance with GAAP. Other companies may calculate return on invested capital differently than Kroger, limiting the comparability of the measure.



The following table provides a calculation of return on invested capital on a rolling four quarters 52 week basis ended August 16, 2014 and August 17, 2013. The numerator in the calculation for return on invested capital includes two quarters of Harris Teeter's operations in the rolling four quarters ended August 16, 2014. The denominator includes the assets and liabilities of Harris Teeter for the second quarter of 2014.













 Rolling Four Quarters Ended 





August 16,


August 17,





2014


2013


Return on Invested Capital





Numerator (a)







Operating profit

$             2,826


$             2,890




53rd week operating profit adjustment

-


(99)




LIFO charge

77


4




Depreciation

1,822


1,674




Rent

668


625




53rd week rent adjustment

-


(12)




Adjustments for the UFCW consolidated pension plan liability








and credit card settlement

-


(115)




Adjustments for the pension plan agreements

87


-




Other

16


-











Adjusted operating income on a 52 week basis

$             5,496


$             4,967









Denominator (b)







Average total assets 

$           26,776


$          23,999




Average taxes receivable (c)

(11)


(4)




Average LIFO reserve (d)

1,140


1,126




Average accumulated depreciation

15,745


14,747




Average trade accounts payable

(4,848)


(4,452)




Average accrued salaries and wages

(1,071)


(978)




Average other current liabilities (e) 

(2,683)


(2,524)




Rent * 8 (f)

5,344


4,904











Average invested capital

$           40,392


$          36,818









Return on Invested Capital

13.6%


13.5%



a)

Represents results for the rolling four quarters ended for the periods noted.



b)

Represents the average of amounts at the beginning and end of the rolling four quarter periods presented.



c)

Taxes receivable is recorded in the Consolidated Balance Sheet in receivables.



d)

LIFO reserve is recorded in the Consolidated Balance Sheet in inventories.



e)

The calculation of average other current liabilities excludes accrued income taxes.



f)

The factor of eight estimates the hypothetical capitalization of our operating leases.

 

 

SOURCE The Kroger Co.

The Kroger Family of Companies