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Kroger 1st-quarter earnings rise, top expectations; raises outlook for sales figure

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CINCINNATI — Kroger's fiscal first-quarter profit rose, free of some pension-related charges that weighed it down last year.

A profit that beat expectations and an upgraded sales forecast helped push the supermarket chain's stock higher in premarket trading.

The supermarket chain earned $619 million, or $1.25 per share, for the period. A year earlier the Cincinnati company earned $501 million, or 98 cents per share.

Last year's first quarter included charges tied to the restructuring of some pension obligations.

The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.21 per share.

Revenue climbed to $33.05 billion from $32.96 billion, but did not meet Wall Street's forecast. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $33.3 billion in revenue.

Kroger Co. still expects full-year earnings in a range of $3.80 to $3.90 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict earnings of $3.87 per share.

The company upgraded its expectations for full-year sales at stores open at least a year to an increase of between 3.5 percent and 4.5 increase, excluding sales of gasoline. Previously, it expected that figure to rise between 3 percent and 4 percent.

The stock added $1.31 to $74.22 before the market open on Thursday.

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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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