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KROGER FOURTH QUARTER PER SHARE BEFORE EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS: 46 CENTS VS. 78 CENTS

 KROGER FOURTH QUARTER PER SHARE BEFORE EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS:
 46 CENTS VS. 78 CENTS
 CINCINNATI, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) said today that after-tax earnings in the 1991 fourth quarter, before an extraordinary item, totaled $41.1 million, or 46 cents per share, compared to earnings of $67.8 million, or 78 cents per share, before an extraordinary item, in the previous year's fourth quarter. The prior year's exceptionally strong earnings also included an after-tax non-recurring gain of $10.6 million, or 12 cents per share.
 After the extraordinary item of $11.7 million related to the early retirement of debt, net earnings in the 1991 fourth quarter totaled $29.4 million, or 33 cents per share, versus net earnings of $66.9 million, or 77 cents per share, after an extraordinary item of $.9 million in the 1990 fourth quarter. Kroger reported a LIFO charge of $.3 million in the 1991 fourth quarter, versus a LIFO credit of $3.2 million in 1990.
 Fourth quarter 1991 operating cash flow --- pre-tax earnings before interest, depreciation, LIFO and extraordinary items --- decreased 5.4 percent to $250.7 million, compared to operating cash flow of $265.1 million in the 1990 fourth quarter. Sales rose 2.9 percent to a record $5.1 billion.
 For the full year, 1991, after-tax earnings before the extraordinary item totaled $100.7 million, or $1.12 per share, compared to $83.3 million, or 96 cents per share --- including the non-recurring gain in the fourth quarter. Net earnings for 1991 were $79.9 million, or 89 cents per share, compared to $82.4 million, or 95 cents per share, in 1990. The 1991 LIFO charge totaled $26.2 million versus $40.8 million in 1990. Operating cash flow increased slightly to $968.0 million from $959.0 million, while total sales rose 5.4 percent to $21.4 billion.
 Identical food store sales rose 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter and 3.0 percent for all of 1991.
 As previously released, Kroger's long-term debt, including capital leases, decreased by $166.3 million to $4.5 billion. With reduced debt and lower interest rates, Kroger's net interest expense for 1991 declined to $531.1 million from $558.1 million. For 1992, the company expects total interest expense to decline to $485 to $495 million.
 Kroger Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph A. Pichler said early indications through the first month of 1992 suggest that the challenges the company confronted in 1991 are continuing. He added that Kroger's merchandising and manufacturing strategy is directly responsive to a growing consumer demand for value.
 "Families today need --- and expect --- good value at the grocery store," Pichler said. "Kroger's overriding priority remains focused upon serving the needs of these consumers with reasonable prices, broad variety, high quality, extensive choice of Kroger-label products, and helpful service --- all the components of value-based retailing."
 During 1991, Kroger opened or expanded 42 supermarkets, and anticipates increasing capital expenditures from $208.1 million in 1991 to approximately $240-250 million in 1992. This will result in approximately 35-40 new or expanded stores and 75 store remodels, an expected increase in square footage of 2.7 percent.
 The Kroger Co.
 Sales and Earnings
 4th Qtr 4th Qtr Percent
 1991 1990 Change
 12/28/91 12/29/90
 Sales $5,128,649,044 $4,985,501,835 2.9
 EBITD (A) $ 250,738,251 $ 265,131,387 (5.4)
 LIFO $ (343,756) $ 3,154,600
 Interest $ (120,995,191) $ (127,619,809)
 Depreciation
 $ (59,671,059) $ (59,030,648)
 Pre-tax earnings
 before other credit
 and extraordinary
 loss $ 69,728,245 $ 81,635,530
 Other
 credit (D) $ 0 $ 26,753,538
 Pre-tax earnings
 before extraordinary
 loss $ 69,728,245 $ 108,389,068
 Tax
 expense $ (28,611,540) $ (40,556,356)
 Earnings before
 extraordinary
 loss $ 41,116,705 $ 67,832,712
 Extraordinary
 loss (B) $ (11,701,241) $ (910,140)
 Net
 earnings $ 29,415,464 $ 66,922,572
 Earnings per common
 share (C):
 From operations
 $0.46 $0.78
 From extraordinary
 loss (2) ($0.13) ($0.01)
 Net earnings per
 common share
 $0.33 $0.77
 Avg. number of common shares
 used in per share
 calculation
 90,286,432 87,342,297
 4 Quarters 4 Quarters Percent
 1991 1990 Change
 12/28/91 12/29/90
 Sales $21,350,530,297 $20,260,973,925 5.4
 EBITD (A) $ 967,978,794 $ 959,028,758 0.9
 LIFO $ (26,243,756) $ (40,845,400)
 Interest $ (531,118,103) $ (558,071,433)
 Depreciation
 $ (242,021,952) $ (244,662,772)
 Pre-tax earnings
 before other credit
 and extraordinary
 loss $ 168,594,983 $ 115,449,153
 Other
 credit (D) $ 0 $ 26,753,538
 Pre-tax earnings
 before extraordinary
 loss $ 168,594,983 $ 142,202,691
 Tax
 expense $ (67,901,182) $ (58,912,794)
 Earnings before
 extraordinary
 loss $ 100,693,801 $ 83,289,897
 Extraordinary
 loss (B) $ (20,838,423) $ (910,140)
 Net
 earnings $ 79,855,378 $ 82,379,757
 Earnings per common
 share (C):
 From operations
 $1.12 $0.96
 From extraordinary
 loss (B) ($0.23) ($0.01)
 Net earnings per
 common share
 $0.89 $0.95
 Avg. number of common shares
 used in per share
 calculation
 90,218,394 86,565,367
 (A) EBITD represents pre-tax earnings before interest, depreciation and LIFO.
 (B) Represents the after-tax loss from the early retirement of debt.
 (3) Earnings per common share equals net earnings divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding after giving effect to dilutive stock options. Fully diluted earnings per share is not presented since it approximates the reported earnings per share.
 (D) Represents the pre-tax gain from the sale of a non-recurring investment.
 -0- 2/4/92
 /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 -- CL006 -- 6559 02/04/92 09:50 EST
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Date:Feb 4, 1992
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