What happened

Shares of Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) were down 17.5% as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Thursday after the grocery chain announced mixed first-quarter 2017 results and reduced its full-year earnings outlook.

So what

Quarterly revenue increased 4.9% year over year to $36.29 billion (excluding fuel, revenue rose 2.9%). Identical-supermarket sales without fuel declined 0.2% year over year.

On the bottom line, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), that translated to earnings of $303 million, or $0.32 per share. Excluding charges related to the withdrawal liability for multi-employer pension funds and a voluntary retirement offering, adjusted net earnings were $546 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, down from $696 million, or $0.71 per share in the same year-ago period.

Analysts, on average, were looking for roughly the same adjusted earnings per share on lower revenue of $35.77 billion. 

Kroger logo

Image source: Kroger. 

"We are driving our strategy of lowering costs to reinvest in ways that provide the right value to our customers," elaborated Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. "We're pleased that identical supermarket sales in the last nine weeks of the first quarter were positive, and that has continued in the second quarter to date."

Now what

Even so, those higher sales are coming at the expense of margins; Kroger now expects full-year 2017 GAAP net earnings per share of $1.74 to $1.79, and adjusted net earnings per share of $2.00 to $2.05 (down from $2.21 to $2.25 per share previously). Meanwhile, Kroger reiterated its expectations for identical-supermarket sales growth excluding fuel of flat to 1%.

Given Kroger's mixed results and full-year earnings guidance reduction, it's no surprise to see shares pulling back hard today.

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