Kroger surges in Q3 with higher-than-expected sales and earnings
The Kroger Co. has regained its momentum in one of the retail industry’s most competitive segments.
Kroger on Thursday reported net earnings of $397 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, in the quarter ended Nov. 4, compared to $391 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in the year-ago period. (This includes an incremental $111 million contribution to the UFCW Consolidated Pension Plan in the quarter.)
Total sales increased 4.5% to $27.7 billion, compared to $26.6 billion for the same period last year. Total sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.0%. Same store sales, without fuel, increased 1.1%. The company said it expects the figure to rise even more in the fourth quarter.
Kroger’s digital revenue more than doubled in the quarter, Bloomberg reported, and while the rise came off of a small base, it shows the company has a chance to compete with the likes of Amazon and Walmart.
In October, the retailer launched an initiative, “Restock Kroger,” that includes investing $500 million in store employees, cutting costs to continue reducing product prices and the launch of a new apparel brand in 2018.
“This quarter shows that by investing for the future, our business continues to improve and gain momentum,” said Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. “We remain confident in our ability to continue to grow identical supermarket store sales and market share for the balance of the year and in 2018.”
“The holidays are always Kroger’s time to shine,” McMullen added. “In fact, we had our best ever Black Friday results for general merchandise, led by record sales at Fred Meyer.”
As loss widens, Barnes & Noble to place greater emphasis on its core category
In the wake of a wider loss than expected and a continuing sales slide in its second quarter, Barnes & Noble plans to a greater emphasis on what brought it the party in the first place: books.
The struggling retailer posted a consolidated second quarter net loss of $30.1 million, or $0.41 per share, compared to a loss of $20.4 million, or $0.29 per share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected a loss of 26 cents per share.
Total sales for the quarter fell 7.9% to $791.1 million. Same-store sales decreased 6.3%, with approximately half of this decline attributable to last year’s release of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, the company said, with the balance primarily due to non-book categories. It was Barnes & Noble’s 14th straight quarter of revenue decline.
“Comparable sales improved throughout the second quarter and into November,” said Demos Parneros, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Book sales continued to strengthen, and we saw improved traffic and conversion trends. As a result of the improving trends, we will continue to place a greater emphasis on books, while further narrowing our non-book assortment.”
In recent years, Barnes & Noble has added more toys and games to its assortment. But its efforts have been met with falling sales. Its e-book business also has stalled.
For fiscal 2018, the company expects comparable sales to decline in the low single digits and full year consolidated EBITDA to be approximately $180 million. It expects comparable store sales to be approximately flat for the balance of the fiscal year. Additionally, it plans to reduce costs by $40 million for the full fiscal year.
Michaels beats Street even with hurricane disruptions
Michaels Companies topped estimates in its third quarter as back-to-school and Halloween sales helped drive growth both offline and online.
Net income increased 4.3% to $79.8 million, or 44 cents a share, for the quarter ended Oct.28, compared to $76.5 million, or 37 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Net sales increased 1.1% to $1.24 billion, inclusive of an estimated $10 million in lost sales related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Same-store sales inched up 1.0%.
“We are seeing nice momentum in our business, excluding the disruption from the hurricanes, and we are encouraged by the customer’s response to the improvements we have made, both in-stores and online, to make it easier for customers to make” said Chuck Rubin, chairman and CEO. “As we turn to the fourth quarter, we believe our holiday assortment is bigger and better than ever, and our teams are ready to serve customers, both in stores and online. We are pleased with the start to the quarter, although we recognize the heart of the season still lies ahead.”
On the chain’s quarterly call with analysts, Rubin said that online sales doubled in the quarter over the prior-year period
“We believe e-commerce is an important complement to our brick-and-mortar experience, and we believe our e-commerce penetration will grow to the high single digits as part of our total sales,” he said.
At the end of the third quarter, the company operated 1,237 Michaels stores, 98 Aaron Brothers stores, and 36 Pat Catan’s stores.
Michaels is now expecting fourth-quarter same-store sales growth of 1.5% to 2.5% and earnings per share of $1.15 to $1.18. The FactSet consensus is for same-store sales growth of 1.9% and earnings per share of $1.14.