retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Kroger said yesterday that its Q4 same-store sales were up two percent, as total sales increased to $28.89 billion from $28.29 billion during the same period a year ago.  Q4 profit increased to $327 million from $259 million a year earlier.

Q4 online sales were up 22%.

For the just-ended fiscal year, digital sales were up 29 percent … same-store sales were up two percent … and total company sales were $122.3 billion, up 2.3 percent (excluding fuel, dispositions and merger transactions).

In yesterday's conference call, CEO Rodney McMullen said, "We are continuing to enhance the customer connection with investments in our competitive moats of today – which are product freshness and quality, Our Brands, and personalized rewards – and our competitive moat of tomorrow, the seamless ecosystem we are building."

•  The Washington Post reports that Albertsons-owned Safeway has come to a labor agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that will cover employees about more than 100 stores in the Washington, DC, area.

The story says that "union representatives said the agreement would protect members’ retirement benefits. The company’s pension fund is short $1.7 billion and is expected to become insolvent next year."

•  Costco reported Q2 earnings of $931 million, up from $889 million during the same period a year ago, on sales that were up 11 percent to $38.3 billion from $34.6 billion a year ago.  Same-store sales were up nine percent, the company said.

Company e-commerce sales for the quarter were up 22.7 percent.