Kroger’s Sales Bump Continues as Coronavirus Persists

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Kroger Co. posted higher quarterly sales from the pandemic-driven demand for groceries, but signaled that growth has slowed from the first months of the crisis.

The nation’s biggest grocer said Friday that sales excluding fuel at stores open at least 15 months rose about 14.6% in the latest quarter from a year earlier, beating expectations. Kroger generated $819 million in profit for the quarter ended Aug. 15. Total sales increased 8% to $30.5 billion.

The coronavirus pandemic has lifted sales for Kroger and other food retailers, as consumers stay at home and cook more. That growth is starting to decelerate as people stockpile less, though sales remain much higher than before the pandemic arrived in the U.S. Kroger generated a 19% increase in same-store sales during the prior quarter.

Executives said during a call with analysts that sales growth is tapering off due to factors including changes in how people celebrate holidays and watch sporting events.

Still, Kroger expects consumers to continue eating more at home, Chief Executive Rodney McMullen said. Families continue to eat most of their meals at home, and Mr. McMullen said customers are rediscovering cooking and trying healthier foods.



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