Kroger plunges after guidance comes up short

Kroger Apeel Avocados

Apeel Sciences

  • Kroger reported fourth quarter earnings and 2019 guidance that was below Wall Street expectations.
  • The stock fell more than 8% in pre-market trading Thursday morning.
  • Watch Kroger trade live.

Kroger reported disappointing fourth-quarter results and full-year 2020 guidance Thursday morning, sending shares down more than 8%.

Adjusted earnings per share came in at $0.48, missing the $0.53 that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting.
Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen noted that the company continued to execute on its long-term goals, with identical sales ex-fuel up 1.8% for the quarter.

"We reached our FIFO operating profit goal and finished the year with sales and business momentum," McMullen said in the press release. "We have a clear path to achieve $400 million in incremental FIFO operating profit growth and $6.5 billion in cumulative Restockcash flow by the end of 2020."

The grocery-store chain provided 2019 full-year earnings guidance of $2.15 to $2.25, missing the Bloomberg consensus of $2.28.

The company also noted that its board of directors raised its dividend for the 12th straight year in 2018, paying $0.53 a share for fiscal year 2018.

Kroger was up 3.4% this year through Wednesday.