Investors knew Kroger (NYSE:KR) would post a strong sales figure for its fiscal first quarter, a period that covered maximum social distancing efforts in the U.S. But the scale of that revenue spike was still shocking.
The supermarket chain said on Thursday morning that comparable-store sales jumped 19% in the three-month period that ended on May 23. That result blew past the 2% uptick that shareholders had been used to seeing from Kroger in recent quarters. It also suggested market share gains against rivals like Walmart (NYSE:WMT), which boosted comps by 10% in its latest quarter. Those numbers aren't directly comparable, though, since Walmart's first quarter ended on April 30 and consumer demand for home essentials is shifting by the week.
Still, Kroger's management team has seen enough data to feel confident that they'll surpass their initial goal of at least 2.25% sales gains for the full fiscal year. It seems likely that the final result will be below the latest 19% surge, but the chain's actual performance will depend on unpredictable factors including economic growth trends and the path that the novel coronavirus takes through the summer and fall months.