What: Shares of grocery store chain The Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) have fallen 17% so far in 2016, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after growth numbers failed to live up to the lofty expectations investors previously had.
So what: The biggest "misstep" Kroger made this year was lowering same-store sales growth guidance when it reported fiscal year 2015 results. Excluding fuel, same-store sales are expected to grow 2.5% to 3.5%, which was lower than the 4.5% analysts had expected. Earnings expectations of $2.19 to $2.28 per share were within analysts' expectations, but management now expects to be on the low to mid end of that range, so investors should be on the lookout for a potential earnings miss as well.
Management has also been interested in growing through acquisitions, but missed out on the Fresh Market deal earlier this year. That could have given the company a bigger hold in a growing fresh and local segment.
Now what: Given the challenges grocery store chains have had from organic and natural foods having any growth is solid for investors. Expectations may have needed to be adjusted to the market reality today, but shares are now trading at just 15.8 times the bottom end of earnings guidance. In a business that's not going away soon, I think that's a reasonable value for investors jumping into the stock today.