• Net earnings increase 1.6%
  • Operating profit climbs 0.4%
  • Sales grow 5.8%

US retailer Kroger has upped its full-year earnings guidance after reporting an increase in first-quarter profits.

Net earnings for the three months to 19 May amounted to US$439.4m, a 1.6% increase on the prior-year period. Operating profit edged up 0.4% to $814.1m, Kroger said today (14 June).

Total sales, including fuel, increased 5.8% to $29.1bn in the quarter. while sales excluding fuel, increased 4.3% over the same period last year.

Identical supermarket sales, without fuel, increased 4.2%, marking 34 consecutive quarters of positive identical supermarket sales, Kroger said.

"Kroger's solid first quarter performance demonstrates that our Customer 1st strategy continues to resonate with customers," said Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon. "Our core business is growing, and we are rewarding shareholders through earnings growth, increasing dividends over time and share buybacks."

Based on the "strong results in the first quarter", the company said it has increased its EPS guidance to $2.33 to $2.40 per diluted share for fiscal 2012 from a previous guidance of $2.28 to $2.38.

Kroger continues to expect identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of 3% to 3.5%.

Click here to view the full earnings release.