CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here said sales and earnings before an extraordinary item reached record levels for the year ended Dec. 31., while sales and operating earnings rose during the fourth quarter.
ge in accounting procedures. Kroger's year-end earnings before a $26.7 million charge for debt retirement hit a record $268.9 million.
Sales for the year rose 2.6% to $23 billion, while same-store sales increased 2.2%. Food-store sales for the year rose 4.9%.
For the 13-week quarter net income rose 10.6% to $91.5 million, while sales increased 3.4% to $5.6 billion and same-store sales jumped 2.5%. Food-store sales for the quarter increased 5.9%.
Operating cash flow -- pretax earnings before interest, depreciation, last-in-first-out inventory accounting and extraordinary items -- increased 9% for the year to a record $1.07 billion and 7.4% in the fourth quarter to $291.3 million.
Joseph A. Pichler, chairman and chief executive officer, attributed the company's record-setting performance to strong sales of Kroger's store brands and its convenience store group. He also cited the "positive impact of new technologies and systems that lowered the cost of product, improved distribution and information efficiencies."
Kroger expanded food-store square footage last year by 4.7%, with 82 new stores, expansions and acquisitions and 66 remodels. In 1995 Kroger said it expects to increase food-store square footage about 5.5% by opening or expanding approximately 90 stores and completing 65 remodels.