Wall Street brokerages expect that The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) will report sales of $39.22 billion for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Four analysts have provided estimates for The Kroger’s earnings, with the lowest sales estimate coming in at $38.84 billion and the highest estimate coming in at $39.94 billion. The Kroger posted sales of $41.55 billion during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a negative year-over-year growth rate of 5.6%. The firm is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 17th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that The Kroger will report full year sales of $129.79 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $128.78 billion to $130.54 billion. For the next year, analysts forecast that the firm will report sales of $131.84 billion, with estimates ranging from $128.57 billion to $133.18 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow The Kroger.

The Kroger (NYSE:KR) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, March 3rd. The company reported $0.81 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.12. The Kroger had a return on equity of 27.26% and a net margin of 2.29%. The firm had revenue of $30.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $30.79 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.57 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on KR shares. Bank of America lowered The Kroger from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and cut their price target for the stock from $40.00 to $28.00 in a report on Tuesday, February 23rd. Wells Fargo & Company lifted their price objective on The Kroger from $31.00 to $34.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 27th. Barclays lowered The Kroger from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and set a $31.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Thursday, January 7th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on The Kroger from $28.00 to $29.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 11th. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group lowered The Kroger from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $43.00 to $39.00 in a research note on Thursday, January 28th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $34.11.

Shares of The Kroger stock traded down $1.49 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $35.89. The company had a trading volume of 10,469,628 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,664,979. The Kroger has a one year low of $30.35 and a one year high of $42.99. The business has a fifty day simple moving average of $36.79 and a 200 day simple moving average of $33.78. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.19, a current ratio of 0.83 and a quick ratio of 0.35. The firm has a market cap of $26.99 billion, a PE ratio of 9.57, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.51 and a beta of 0.36.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, June 1st. Investors of record on Friday, May 14th will be issued a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 13th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.01%. The Kroger’s dividend payout ratio is presently 32.73%.

In other The Kroger news, Director Susan J. Kropf sold 13,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.90, for a total transaction of $453,700.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 114,277 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,988,267.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Timothy A. Massa sold 16,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $37.58, for a total value of $601,280.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 198,298 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,452,038.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 84,730 shares of company stock worth $3,089,241. 1.34% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of KR. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of The Kroger by 16.8% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 72,230,358 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,294,036,000 after purchasing an additional 10,380,236 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in The Kroger in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $226,065,000. Morgan Stanley lifted its position in The Kroger by 95.1% in the 4th quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,623,467 shares of the company’s stock valued at $146,842,000 after acquiring an additional 2,253,301 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. lifted its position in The Kroger by 92.4% in the 4th quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 2,254,719 shares of the company’s stock valued at $71,609,000 after acquiring an additional 1,082,663 shares in the last quarter. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. lifted its position in The Kroger by 21.8% in the 4th quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 5,906,045 shares of the company’s stock valued at $187,576,000 after acquiring an additional 1,056,424 shares in the last quarter. 84.64% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About The Kroger

The Kroger Co operates as a retailer in the United States. The company operates combination food and drug stores, multi-department stores, marketplace stores, and price impact warehouses. Its combination food and drug stores offer natural food and organic sections, pharmacies, general merchandise, pet centers, fresh seafood, and organic produce; and multi-department stores provide apparel, home fashion and furnishings, outdoor living, electronics, automotive products, and toys.

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