Supermarket shares fall on Kroger's loss

AP News
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 12:02 PM

Share of major grocery chains fell Tuesday after The Kroger Co., considered one of the industry's leaders, reported an unexpected loss.

Kroger on Tuesday reported a $875 million loss in its third quarter, citing tough price competition and the struggling California economy's impact on business. The nation's largest traditional grocery chain also cut its profit and sales forecast for the full year.

The company is considered one of the industry leaders, both for its size and its demonstrated ability to weather the downturn by drawing shoppers with its low-prices.

But its failure to deliver this quarter may have spooked investors.

Shares of Kroger plunged $2.83, or more than 12 percent, to $20.02 in midday trading Tuesday.

Meanwhile competitors such as Safeway Inc. saw its shares fall $1.47, or nearly 7 percent, to $20.95. Shares of Supervalu Inc. fell $1.15, or nearly 8 percent, to $13.29.

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And even shares of Costco Wholesale Club Inc., which is a different format but has upped its competition with traditional grocers, saw its shares fall 88 cents, or nearly 1.5 percent, to $58.47.