Kroger sees 2Q profit boost, but sales measure falls short

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger Co. reported a jump in fiscal second-quarter profit on an investment gain, but a key sales measure fell short of expectations.

Kroger has been shifting the way it stocks shelves at its stores, along with expanding partnerships and its online shopping options. The company and its competitors are increasingly facing more competition from Inc., which has moved into the grocery space over the last few years.

Shares fell 9.8 percent in morning trading.

The Cincinnati-based supermarket chain's profit rose 44 percent to $508 million, or 62 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 41 cents per share.

The company reported a key gain from its investment in British online grocer Ocado.

Sales rose about 1 percent to $27.87 billion.

Both profit and sales figures topped Wall Street expectations, with analysts expecting 38 cents per share in profit on revenue of $27.92 billion.

Same-store sales, which is considered a key measure of a retailer's health, rose 1.6 percent, falling short of forecasts for a 1.8 percent boost.

Kroger still expects full-year earnings in the range of $2 to $2.15 per share.

Kroger shares have climbed 16 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 8 percent. The stock has risen 47 percent in the last 12 months.