Kroger (NYSE:KR) reported a same-store sales growth of 5.2 percent in the latest quarter, marking the supermarket's 45th consecutive quarter of growth.
CEO Rodney McMullen said 2014 was "an outstanding year by all measures." He attributed much of this success to the employee and customer relationships that continue to generate loyalty. Profits were also gained by the sale of fuel—specifically the successful coupling of low retail fuel prices with unusually high fuel margins.
"Kroger's consistent customer first performance is expanding our business, creating opportunity for associates and generating value for our shareholders," said McMullen. "We created nearly 25,000 new jobs last year, and I am especially proud that our commitment to hiring veterans resulted in more than 6,000 veterans joining our company last year."
Sales for the fourth quarter totaled $25.2 billion, an increase of 8.5 percent. And total sales, excluding fuel, increased by 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter. For the entirety of fiscal 2014, Kroger reported $108.5 billion in sales, an increase of 10.3 percent. Without factoring fuel sales, Kroger's sales saw an increase of 12.9 percent in 2014.
Kroger added nearly 25,000 new jobs in 2014, 90 percent of which were in the supermarket divisions. In the past seven years, Kroger has created more than 65,000 new jobs.
Looking forward, Kroger is continuing to invest in improving and expanding its supermarket reach. And at the end of 2014, the company announced it would invest $100 million in its Michigan stores.
To keep up its competitive edge, Kroger has been on the forefront of innovations to revamp its stores for the changing market. For example, last spring Kroger created a new Retail Site Intelligence (RSI) to integrate new networking capabilities into existing store systems, essentially improving the store's technology.
-See this Kroger press release
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