Press Release

Kroger Reports First Quarter Results

Q1 EPS of $0.32; Q1 Adjusted EPS of $0.58

ID Sales Without Fuel -0.2% and Confirms 2017 ID Sales Guidance

Lowers 2017 GAAP EPS Guidance to $1.74-$1.79, Adjusted EPS Guidance of $2.00-$2.05

Company Release - 6/15/2017 7:45 AM ET

CINCINNATI, June 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today reported net earnings of $303 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, and identical supermarket sales growth, without fuel, of -0.2% in the first quarter of 2017. Kroger's net earnings per diluted share includes charges related to the withdrawal liability for certain multi-employer pension funds and a Voluntary Retirement Offering (the 2017 adjustment items, see Table 6). Excluding the effect of these charges, Kroger's adjusted net earnings were $546 million, or $0.58 per diluted share.  Kroger's net earnings for the first quarter last year were $696 million, or $0.71 per diluted share.

The Kroger Co. Logo (PRNewsFoto/The Kroger Co.) (PRNewsFoto/The Kroger Co.)

Comments from Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen

"We remain focused on our strategy. This will make a difference for our customers and create value for our shareholders. We are running the business with an eye toward where the customer is going. Customers tell us they want to connect with us in multiple ways with the help of friendly associates to easily provide meals to their families at prices that enable them to stretch their budgets. We are committed to providing that experience, and we will not lose on price.

"We are driving our strategy of lowering costs to reinvest in ways that provide the right value to our customers. We're pleased that identical supermarket sales in the last nine weeks of the first quarter were positive, and that has continued in the second quarter to date."

Details of First Quarter 2017 Results

Total sales increased 4.9% to $36.3 billion in the first quarter compared to $34.6 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 2.9% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.  The recent merger with ModernHEALTH contributed to sales growth.  

Gross margin was 22.1% of sales for the first quarter. Excluding fuel, ModernHEALTH and the LIFO charge, gross margin decreased 45 basis points from the same period last year.

Kroger recorded a $25 million LIFO charge in the first quarter of 2017, compared to a $15 million LIFO charge in the same period last year. 

Operating, General & Administrative costs as a rate of sales – excluding fuel, ModernHEALTH and the 2017 adjustment items – increased 27 basis points; rent and depreciation with the same exclusions increased by 9 basis points. 

FIFO operating margin on a rolling four quarters basis – excluding fuel, mergers and the adjustment items from the respective periods – decreased 41 basis points compared to the prior year.

Financial Strategy

Kroger's long-term financial strategy is to use its financial flexibility to drive growth while also returning capital to shareholders.

Maintaining its current investment grade debt rating allows the company to use its cash flow to take advantage of strategic and financially compelling opportunities, repurchase shares and fund the dividend, which is expected to increase over time.

The company's net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio increased to 2.33, compared to 2.12 during the same period last year (see Table 5). This result is due to the merger with ModernHEALTH and the repurchase of shares.

Over the last four quarters, Kroger has used free cash flow to:

  • Repurchase $1.5 billion in common shares,
  • Pay $438 million in dividends,
  • Invest $3.4 billion in capital, and
  • Merge with ModernHEALTH for approximately $390 million.

Return on invested capital for the first quarter, on a rolling four quarter basis, was 12.75% (see Table 7). 

Fiscal 2017 Guidance

Kroger lowered its 2017 GAAP net earnings guidance for 53 weeks to $1.74-$1.79 per diluted share. Kroger's adjusted net earnings guidance range is $2.00 to $2.05 per diluted share. This assumes an $80 million LIFO charge compared to the company's original estimate of $25 million. The previous adjusted net earnings guidance range was $2.21 to $2.25 per diluted share. See Form 8-K for additional information on guidance.

Kroger continues to expect identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of flat to 1% growth for 2017.   

The company continues to expect capital investments excluding mergers, acquisitions and purchases of leased facilities, to be in the $3.2 to $3.5 billion range for 2017.

Over the long term, Kroger is committed to achieving a net earnings per diluted share growth rate of 8 – 11%, plus a growing dividend.

 

At The Kroger Co., we are dedicated to our purpose: to Feed the Human SpiritSM.We serve eight and a half million customers and 443,000 associates who shop or serve in 2,792 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Our Family of Companies operates an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized order online service – in addition to 2,255 pharmacies, 782 convenience stores, 311 fine jewelry stores, 220 retail health clinics, 1,453 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Our Company has been recognized as one of America's most generous companies for its support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. As a leader in supplier diversity, we are a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.

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

Note: Kroger discusses the changes in operating results, as a percentage of sales, excluding certain items that affect comparability.

Please refer to the supplemental information presented in the tables for reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures used in this press release to the most comparable GAAP financial measure and related disclosure.

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 "assumes," "estimate," "expect," "guidance," "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 Kroger's annual report on Form 10-K for the last fiscal year and any subsequent filings, as well as the following:

  • Kroger's ability to achieve 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 Kroger; pricing and promotional activities of existing and new competitors, including non-traditional competitors, and the aggressiveness of that competition; Kroger's 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 Kroger's logistics operations; trends in consumer spending; the extent to which Kroger's 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; Kroger's ability to retain pharmacy sales from third party payors; consolidation in the healthcare industry, including pharmacy benefit managers; Kroger's ability to negotiate modifications to multi-employer pension plans; natural disasters or adverse weather conditions; the potential costs and risks associated with potential cyber-attacks or data security breaches; the success of Kroger's future growth plans; and the successful integration of Harris Teeter and Roundy's.  Kroger's ability to achieve sales and earnings goals may also be affected by Kroger's ability to manage the factors identified above. Kroger's ability to execute its financial strategy may be affected by its ability to generate cash flow.

  • During the first three quarters of each fiscal year, Kroger's LIFO charge and the recognition of LIFO expense is affected primarily by estimated year-end changes in product costs. Kroger's fiscal year LIFO charge is affected primarily by changes in product costs at year-end.

Kroger assumes 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 June 15, 2017 at ir.kroger.com. An on-demand replay of the webcast will be available at approximately 1 p.m. (ET) Thursday, June 15, 2017.

 

1st Quarter 2017 Tables Include:

  1. Consolidated Statements of Operations
  2. Consolidated Balance Sheets
  3. Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
  4. Supplemental Sales Information
  5. Reconciliation of Total Debt and Net Earnings Attributable to The Kroger Co. to Adjusted EBITDA
  6. Net Earnings Per Diluted Share Excluding the Adjustment Items
  7. Return on Invested Capital

 

 

Table 1.

THE KROGER CO.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in millions, except per share amounts)

(unaudited)
























FIRST QUARTER









2017


2016
















SALES


$     36,285


100.0%


$     34,604


100.0%


















MERCHANDISE COSTS, INCLUDING ADVERTISING,












WAREHOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION (a),












AND LIFO CHARGE (b)


28,281


77.9


26,669


77.1



OPERATING, GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE (a)


6,376


17.6


5,779


16.7



RENT


270


0.7


262


0.8



DEPRECIATION AND AMORTIZATION


736


2.0


694


2.0



















OPERATING PROFIT 


622


1.7


1,200


3.5


















INTEREST EXPENSE


177


0.5


155


0.5



















NET EARNINGS BEFORE INCOME TAX EXPENSE


445


1.2


1,045


3.0


















INCOME TAX EXPENSE 


148


0.4


350


1.0



















NET EARNINGS INCLUDING NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS


297


0.8


695


2.0



















NET LOSS ATTRIBUTABLE TO













NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS


(6)


-


(1)


-



















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. 


$           303


0.8%


$           696


2.0%



















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.













PER BASIC COMMON SHARE


$          0.33




$          0.72





















AVERAGE NUMBER  OF COMMON SHARES USED IN













BASIC CALCULATION


914




954





















NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.













PER DILUTED COMMON SHARE


$          0.32




$          0.71





















AVERAGE NUMBER  OF COMMON SHARES USED IN













DILUTED CALCULATION


925




966




















DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE


$        0.120




$       0.105

































Note:

Certain percentages may not sum due to rounding.
















Note:

The Company defines First-In First-Out (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 and amortization expense and rent expense which are included in separate expense lines.
















(b)

LIFO charges of $25 and $15 were recorded in the first quarters of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

 

 

Table 2.

THE KROGER CO.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(in millions)

(unaudited)



















May 20,


May 21,









2017


2016













ASSETS






Current Assets







Cash


$                335


$                375



Temporary cash investments


21


16



Store deposits in-transit


952


892



Receivables


1,394


1,314



Inventories


6,359


6,066



Prepaid and other current assets


477


553















Total current assets


9,538


9,216













Property, plant and equipment, net


21,133


20,161


Intangibles, net


1,141


1,043


Goodwill


3,031


2,744


Other assets


956


637















Total Assets


$          35,799


$          33,801
























LIABILITIES AND SHAREOWNERS' EQUITY






Current Liabilities







Current portion of long-term debt including obligations








under capital leases and financing obligations


$            1,854


$            2,676



Trade accounts payable


6,078


5,846



Accrued salaries and wages


1,135


1,202



Deferred income taxes


-


221



Other current liabilities


3,448


3,200















Total current liabilities


12,515


13,145













Long-term debt including obligations under capital leases








and financing obligations


11,590


9,710


Deferred income taxes


2,181


1,739


Pension and postretirement benefit obligations


1,552


1,395


Other long-term liabilities


1,826


1,364















Total Liabilities


29,664


27,353













Shareowners' equity


6,135


6,448















Total Liabilities and Shareowners' Equity


$          35,799


$          33,801













Total common shares outstanding at end of period


900


941


Total diluted shares year-to-date


925


966


 

 

Table 3.

THE KROGER CO.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(in millions)

(unaudited)























YEAR-TO-DATE











2017


2016















CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:







Net earnings including noncontrolling interests


$                297


$                695



Adjustments to reconcile net earnings including noncontrolling








interests to net cash provided by operating activities:









Depreciation and amortization


736


694





LIFO charge


25


15





Stock-based employee compensation


53


43





Expense for Company-sponsored pension plans


35


25





Deferred income taxes


6


-





Other


(51)


(1)





Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net










of effects from mergers of businesses:











Store deposits in-transit


(42)


31







Receivables


149


85







Inventories


177


101







Prepaid and other current assets


409


232







Trade accounts payable


260


104







Accrued expenses


(86)


(320)







Income taxes receivable and payable


153


350







Other


187


25
















Net cash provided by operating activities


2,308


2,079




























CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:







Payments for property and equipment, including payments for lease buyouts


(817)


(1,090)



Proceeds from sale of assets


83


71



Other


(10)


(32)
















Net cash used by investing activities


(744)


(1,051)




























CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:







Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt


1


11



Payments on long-term debt


(84)


(54)



Net (payments) borrowings on commercial paper


(545)


256



Dividends paid


(111)


(102)



Proceeds from issuance of capital stock


17


15



Treasury stock purchases


(772)


(1,027)



Other


(37)


(13)
















Net cash used by financing activities


(1,531)


(914)




























NET INCREASE IN CASH AND TEMPORARY







CASH INVESTMENTS


33


114




























CASH AND TEMPORARY CASH INVESTMENTS:







BEGINNING OF YEAR


323


277



END OF YEAR


$                356


$                391




























Reconciliation of capital investments:







Payments for property and equipment, including payments for lease buyouts


$              (817)


$           (1,090)



Changes in construction-in-progress payables


(104)


(55)




Total capital investments, excluding lease buyouts


$              (921)


$           (1,145)















Disclosure of cash flow information:








Cash paid during the year for interest


$                188


$                167




Cash paid during the year for income taxes


$                  11


$                    7


 

 

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 supermarket sales differently than Kroger does, limiting the comparability of the measure.

















IDENTICAL SUPERMARKET SALES (a)












FIRST QUARTER





2017


2016










INCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


$         32,252


$         31,758



EXCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


$         28,627


$         28,689










INCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


1.6%


0.4%



EXCLUDING FUEL CENTERS


-0.2%


2.4%






















(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.
























May 20,


May 21,





2017


2016


Change








Current portion of long-term debt including obligations







   under capital leases and financing obligations


$

1,854


$

2,676


$

(822)

Long-term debt including obligations under capital leases







and financing obligations


11,590


9,710


1,880








     Total debt


13,444


12,386


1,058








Less: Temporary cash investments


21


16


5

Less: Prepaid benefit payments


2


-


2








     Net total debt


$

13,421


$

12,370


$

1,051















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 basis.

















 Rolling Four Quarters Ended 





May 20,


May 21,





2017


2016










Net earnings attributable to The Kroger Co.


$

1,582


$

2,116



LIFO charge


29


15



Depreciation and amortization


2,382


2,163



Interest expense


544


489



Income tax expense


755


1,065



Adjustments for pension plan agreements


310


-



Adjustments for voluntary retirement offering


184


-



Other


(18)


(4)










Adjusted EBITDA


$

5,768


$

5,844










Net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio on a rolling four quarters basis


2.33


2.12



 

 

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 for 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 the first quarter of 2017, these items included charges related to the withdrawal liability for certain multi-employer pension funds and the voluntary retirement offering.  In the first quarter of 2016, The Kroger Co. did not have any adjustment items.






































FIRST QUARTER








2017


2016












NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.


$

303


$

696












ADJUSTMENTS FOR PENSION PLAN WITHDRAWAL LIABILITIES (a)(b)


126


-












ADJUSTMENTS FOR VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT OFFERING (a)(c)


117


-












2017 ADJUSTED ITEMS



243


-












NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO.







EXCLUDING THE ADJUSTMENT ITEMS ABOVE


$

546


$

696












NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. 







PER DILUTED COMMON SHARE



$

0.32


$

0.71












ADJUSTMENTS FOR PENSION PLAN WITHDRAWAL LIABILITIES (d)


0.13


-












ADJUSTMENTS FOR VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT OFFERING (d)


0.13


-












2017 ADJUSTED ITEMS



0.26


-












NET EARNINGS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE KROGER CO. PER 







DILUTED COMMON SHARE EXCLUDING THE ADJUSTMENT ITEMS ABOVE


$

0.58


$

0.71












AVERAGE NUMBER  OF COMMON SHARES USED IN







DILUTED CALCULATION



925


966





















(a)

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











(b)

The pre-tax adjustments for the pension plan withdrawal liabilities were $199.











(c) 

The pre-tax adjustments for the voluntary retirement offering were $184.











(d) 

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 basis ended May 20, 2017.
































 Rolling Four
Quarters Ended 








May 20,








2017


Return on Invested Capital





Numerator (a)








Operating profit



$

2,858




LIFO charge



29




Depreciation and amortization


2,382




Rent




889




Adjustments for pension plan agreements


310




Adjustments for voluntary retirement offering


184












Adjusted operating profit


$

6,652










Denominator (b)








Average total assets 



$

34,800




Average taxes receivable (c)


(37)




Average LIFO reserve (d)


1,303




Average accumulated depreciation and amortization


19,464




Average trade accounts payable


(5,962)




Average accrued salaries and wages


(1,169)




Average other current liabilities (e) 


(3,324)




Rent * 8 (f)



7,112












Average invested capital


$

52,187










Return on Invested Capital



12.75%









a)

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









b)

Represents the average of amounts at the beginning and end of the rolling four quarters 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.

 

 

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SOURCE The Kroger Co.

The Kroger Family of Companies