What is in this article?:
- Kroger Boosts Profit Outlook After Q3 Growth
- Gaining Market Share
Regarding the fiscal cliff: "We think we are in a great position in any of the possible outcomes we can imagine.”
— David Dillon, chairman and CEO, Kroger
CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. here said last week that it expects its robust performance to continue as it upped its earnings guidance for the year and said it is prepared for whatever turns the economy might take.
Asked by an analyst if the company was prepared for a sharp economic downturn due to the potential of a so-called “fiscal cliff,” Kroger said it has spent years building its reputation as a strong provider of value and that it believes its customers will continue to view it as their best shopping alternative.
“We think we are in a great position in any of the possible outcomes we can imagine,” said David Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer, in a conference call with analysts. “We think that our customers are going to trust us and continue to stay with us.”
He added that the uncertainty surrounding the economy as Congress and President Obama debate spending cuts and tax increases “serves the public really poorly.”
“We think that there’s a lot everyone can do if they make up their mind that they’re going to approach this in a responsible way,” he said, noting that the media also contributes to the public anxiety.
In assessing the current economic situation, Dillon said the economy is “slowly improving, but value customers are still struggling.”
In the third quarter, he said consumer concern over fuel and energy costs lessened as gas prices declined.
“Overall, consumer confidence is up, but it remains fragile,” Dillon said.
Kroger posted net income of $316.5 million in the quarter, which included some one-time benefits from the settlement of a lawsuit with Visa and MasterCard and a reduction in contributions to a consolidated union pension fund.
Excluding those gains, net income would have been $242.4 million, up about 23.7% over year-ago levels.