Kroger lifts guidance, citing plans to expand

AP News
Posted: Oct 16, 2012 1:11 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger Co. is forecasting stronger growth in the years ahead, with company executives outlining plans to expand in new and existing markets.

The nation's largest traditional supermarket operator says the growth will be driven in part by new store formats. Over the long term, Kroger now expects earnings per share to grow 8 percent to 11 percent, up from the previous forecast of 6 percent to 8 percent. The company stood by its sales and earnings guidance for the current fiscal year.

Last month, Kroger said it would start selling clothes for the first time in Ohio at its "Marketplace" store.

The Cincinnati-based company says it will boost capital spending and approved a $500 million share buyback program.

Its shares rose $1.02, or 4.4 percent to $24.45 in midday trading after rising to a 52-week high of $24.84 earlier.