KR

Kroger forecasts 2024 sales, profit largely above market estimates

Credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

Adds shares in paragraph 2, background in paragraphs 3-4, profit forecast in paragraph 6

March 7 (Reuters) - Kroger KR.N on Thursday forecast annual sales and profit largely above Wall Street estimates on higher demand for groceries at its stores as more Americans prepare meals at home amid persistent inflation.

Shares of the company, which has struck a $24.6 billion deal to buy smaller rival Albertsons ACI.N, rose about 4% in premarket trading.

Consumers are cooking more at home, instead of eating out, as grocery prices ease at a faster pace than menu prices at restaurants, propping sales of retailers such as Kroger and Walmart WMT.N.

Data from the U.S, Department of Agriculture showed food-at-home prices were only 1.2% higher in January, compared with a year earlier, whereas food-away-from-home prices were 5.1% higher than January 2023.

The supermarket chain said it expected fiscal 2024 identical sales, excluding fuel, to increase 0.25% to 1.75%, compared with analysts' average estimate for a 0.7% increase, according to LSEG data.

The company projected adjusted earnings of $4.30 to $4.50 per share for fiscal 2024, compared with analysts' estimate of $4.34 per share.

(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

((DeborahMary.Sophia@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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