Kroger Earnings Miss Wall Street Expectations

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Supermarket chain Kroger (KR) turned a profit in its fiscal third quarter, but failed to beat Wall Street earnings estimates and lowered the top of its 2010 earnings forecast range. Shares fell 9.3% on the news to close at $21.63 Thursday.

Net income for the quarter, which ended Nov. 6, totaled $202.2 million, or 32 cents a share, which represents a big jump compared to a loss of $874.9 million, or $1.35 a share, a year earlier, Kroger said Thursday. Revenue rose 5.9% to $18.7 billion.

The company boosted its same-store sales 2.4%, excluding fuel sales, from a year earlier. "These results show Kroger's strategy is working and that our core grocery business is strong and resilient," Kroger CEO David Dillon said in a statement.

Kroger also benefited from comparison to last year's third quarter, when it took an impairment charge of $1.11 billion from its Ralph's chain in Southern California.

Analysts expected the company to earn 32 cents a share on $18.5 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

The company also released disappointing guidance, cutting the high end of its fiscal 2010 earnings forecast range to $1.78 a share from $1.80 a share, even though it also boosted the low end of its same-store sales forecast to 2.5% from 2%.

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