Kroger Down on Q3 Numbers

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) saw its shares dwindle slightly on the release of third-quarter numbers early Thursday.

The grocery chain reported GAAP net earnings of $317 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2018, which ended on November 10. Kroger's third quarter adjusted operating net earnings were $394 million, or $0.48 per diluted share.

The 2018 third-quarter adjustment item relates to the change in the market value of Kroger's investment in Ocado securities. GAAP net earnings for the third quarter 2017 were $397 million, or $0.44 per diluted share. Kroger reported identical sales growth, without fuel, of 1.6% for the third quarter of 2018.

For the first three quarters of 2018, Kroger's adjusted operating net earnings per diluted share result was slightly ahead of the company's internal expectations due to the solid early execution of Restock Kroger, including process changes that led to sustainable cost controls and higher-margin alternative profit streams.

This performance will allow Kroger to continue making incremental Restock Kroger investments while delivering on its guidance range for the year.

Said CEO Rodney McMullen,"Kroger is transforming our business model. We're moving from a traditional grocer to a growth company with both a strong customer ecosystem that offers anything, anytime, anywhere, and asset-light, high-margin alternative partnerships and services. Restock Kroger is the blueprint for this transformation."

Kroger's GAAP net earnings guidance range is now $3.80 to $3.95 per diluted share for 2018. The previous GAAP range was $3.88 to $4.03per diluted share.

Shares were off 11 cents to $28.53