Kroger’s comparable sales climb 30% in March on Coronavirus driven panic buying

Kroger’s comparable sales climb 30% in March on Coronavirus driven panic buying

  • Kroger records a 30% increase in comparable sales as consumer stockpile due to Coroanvirus.
  • The U.S grocer raises hourly wage for its workers by £1.62 as a bonus for working amidst Covid-19.
  • A few of the Kroger's employees tested positive for the flu-like virus at multiple locations.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) said on Wednesday that it recorded a 30% increase in comparable sales in March as consumers continued panic buying amidst the Coronavirus pandemic that is pushing governments into nationwide lockdowns and restricting people to their homes. The grocer also highlighted that it borrowed £810 million to expand its cash reserve to withstand the economic blow of COVID-19.

Due to the rising Coronavirus uncertainty, several of Kroger’s competitors have withdrawn guidance or slashed forecasts. But Kroger maintained its financial outlook on Wednesday that pushed its stock more than 5% up later in the day.

Kroger Says It’s Early To Predict The Impact Of COVID-19

The Cincinnati-based company, however, highlighted that its expectations remain conservative owing to the fluid environment due to the ongoing health emergency. According to Kroger:

“It is too early to speculate what will emerge as the new normal in food consumption at home or what the impact on sales will be in future periods.”

CEO Rodney McMullen of Kroger also reiterated that sales were unusually uplifted in March. While a decline was observed towards the end of the month, sales remained much higher than normal.

Kroger is now expecting its profit in the first quarter to beat its prior forecast. The U.S grocer also announced its share buyback program suspended for the quarter on Wednesday.

As a reward to the workers who continue to serve amidst the rapidly spreading flu-like virus, Kroger increased the hourly wage for its staff by £1.62 until 18th April. Hourly employees at Kroger get an average wage of £12.12 per hour. The company had recently offered a one-time bonus as well to the frontline associates that it wishes to pay on 3rd April.

Kroger’s Employees Test Positive For Coronavirus

A few of the Kroger employees were recently tested positive for Coronavirus in different locations including Bellevue, Nashville, and Henrico.

At the time of writing, Kroger is exchanging hands at £24.85 per share in the stock market that translates to around 10% gain in 2020 so far. Its performance in 2019 was only slightly positive with an annual gain of around 5%. The stock opened at £22.23 per share in January 2019 but closed the year slightly higher at around £23.40 per share in December.

The U.S grocer currently has a market cap of £19.53 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 15.69.

By Wajeeh Khan
Mr. Khan specialises in Public Health by academia but is a trader by passion. Taking up two new hobbies of writing and trading in his teen years, he is now a professional trader and news writer with over 5 years of experience in various financial markets. Khan is passionate about bringing insightful articles to his readers and hopes to add value to their portfolios.

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