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Kroger's 4Q results, 2015 outlook beat Wall Street's expectations, shares rise

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CINCINNATI — Kroger's fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose thanks in part to better fuel margins and a lower-than-expected inventory charge. Its 2015 profit guidance beat Wall Street's view.

The supermarket chain's shares rose 5 percent in midday trading Thursday.

Kroger Co. earned $518 million, or $1.04 per share, for the period ended Jan. 31. That compares with $422 million, or 81 cents per share.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 90 cents per share.

The current quarter's results include regional grocer Harris Teeter, which Kroger acquired early last year. Harris Teeter was not included in the year-ago period.

Kroger said that its LIFO charge of $9 million was lower than anticipated. It had a LIFO charge of $10 million in the prior-year period.

The Cincinnati company posted revenue of $25.21 billion in the period, also surpassing Wall Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $25.05 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $1.73 billion, or $3.44 per share. Its adjusted profit was $3.52 per share. Revenue was reported as $108.47 billion.

Kroger expects 2015 earnings to be in a range of $3.80 to $3.90 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet predict earnings of $3.72 per share.

The company's stock added $3.76, or 5.4 percent, to $73.40 in midday trading. Its shares are up 19 percent so far this year.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on KR at http://www.zacks.com/ap/KR

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Keywords: Kroger, Earnings Report

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