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KROGER FIRST QUARTER OPERATING NET PER SHARE 23 CENTS VS. 12 CENTS

KROGER FIRST QUARTER OPERATING NET PER SHARE 23 CENTS VS. 12 CENTS
 CINCINNATI, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) said today that 1992 first quarter operating earnings before an extraordinary item rose 95 percent to $21 million, or 23 cents per share, from $10.8 million, or 12 cents per share, in the 1991 first quarter.
 After the extraordinary item of $30.3 million, Kroger had a net loss in the quarter of $9.3 million, or a loss of 11 cents per share. The extraordinary item resulted from the early retirement of high cost debt.
 The Company said the improved operating performance reflected strong cost control measures, as well as significantly reduced interest expense and a lower LIFO charge. First quarter operating cash flow --- earnings before interest expense, taxes, depreciation and LIFO --- decreased from the 1991 first quarter by $447,055.
 Kroger said first quarter sales rose 2.7 percent to $5.0 billion from $4.9 billion, with major contributions from increased produce and floral sales. Identical food store sales improved 1 percent over the first quarter of 1991 despite continuing deflation in prices for meat, grocery and dairy items.
 Kroger Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph A. Pichler said the Company's improved operating results were especially gratifying in light of the virtual absence of food price inflation and the intense competition in several important markets. "Kroger's retail divisions showed exceptional discipline in containing costs and managing working capital, which helped produce strong operating results."
 Pichler noted that while Kroger is pleased with its first quarter performance, "the uncertain economic outlook, the continuing impact of aggressive competition --- and now a work stoppage in our Michigan division --- make it clear that the remainder of 1992 will be a challenging one for the Company."
 Interest expense in the quarter declined by more than 9 percent to $112.9 million from $125.2 million in the year earlier quarter. During the 1992 first quarter, Kroger reduced its high cost debt by repurchasing $177.5 million face amount of its 12-7/8 percent and 13-1/8 percent debentures through a series of open market purchases. The Company noted that since the end of the first quarter, Kroger has issued $275 million of 9-3/4 percent Senior Subordinated Debentures, due 2004, including $100 million scheduled to close this week. Also since the end of the first quarter, the Company has repurchased in open market transactions an additional $244.6 million of the 12-7/8 percent and 13-1/8 percent debentures.
 The Kroger Co.
 Sales and Earnings
 1st Qtr 1st Qtr Percent
 1992 1991 Change
 3/21/92 3/23/91
 Sales $5,038,493,240 $4,907,131,249 2.7
 EBITD (1) $ 212,272,198 $ 212,719,253 (0.2)
 LIFO $ (6,600,000) $ (11,500,000)
 Interest $ (112,886,905) $ (125,207,021)
 Depreciation $ (57,587,638) $ (55,323,583)
 Pre-tax earnings
 before
 extraordinary
 item $ 35,197,655 $ 20,688,649
 Tax expense
 $ (14,220,596) $ (9,906,511)
 Earnings before
 extraordinary
 item $ 20,977,059 $ 10,782,138
 Extraordinary
 item (2) $ (30,269,874) $ (5,425,748)
 Net earnings
 (loss) $ (9,292,815) $ 5,356,390
 Earnings (loss)
 per common
 share (3):
 From operations
 $ 0.23 $ 0.12
 From extraordinary
 item (2) $ (0.34) $ (0.06)
 Net earnings (loss)
 per common
 share $ (0.11) $ 0.06
 Number of shares
 used in per share
 calculation(3) 90,177,499 89,397,757
 (1) EBITD represents pre-tax earnings before interest, depreciation, LIFO and extraordinary items.
 (2) Represents the after-tax loss from the early retirement of debt.
 (3) Includes the effect of outstanding stock options.
 -0- 4/14/92
 /CONTACT: Paul Bernish (media), 513-762-1304; or Pam Taylor (analyst), 513-762-4969; both of The Kroger Company/
 (KR) CO: The Kroger Company ST: Ohio IN: REA SU: ERN


KK -- CL004 -- 8111 04/14/92 09:25 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 14, 1992
Words:643
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