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Kroger Issues 2022 Guidance; Targets To Achieve Total Shareholder Returns Of 8-11% Over Time

The Kroger Co. (KR) said, for fiscal 2022, the company expects to grow identical sales without fuel by 2.0% to 3.0% and grow adjusted net earnings per share to between $3.75 to $3.85. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report profit per share of $3.45. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

The company said it remains confident in its ability to achieve attractive and sustainable total shareholder returns of 8-11% over time.

"We will continue to be disciplined with capital allocation. In 2022, we are increasing capital investments in strategic priorities that will drive sustained future earnings growth. At the same time, we expect to generate strong free cash flow and we will continue to return excess cash to shareholders," CFO Gary Millerchip said.

Fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share increased to $0.91 from $0.81, a year ago. On average, 20 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report profit per share of $0.74, for the quarter.

Net income to company was $566 million or $0.75 per share, compared to a loss of $77 million or $0.10 per share, prior year.

Total company sales were $33.0 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to $30.7 billion, last year. Total company sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.7%. Analysts on average had estimated $32.86 billion in revenue. Identical sales without fuel increased 4.0%, for the quarter.

Shares of The Kroger Co. were up 5% in pre-market trade on Thursday.

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