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Kroger said yesterday that its Q1 sales were $41.2 billion down 4.1 percent (excluding fuel sales) from the same period a year ago, but up 14.9 percent compared to the same period two years ago - a comparison that is seen as more representative since the pandemic skewed 2020 results.  Same-store sales were up 14.9 percent from the same period two years ago.

At the same time, Kroger said its Q1 digital sales continued to grow - up 16 percent from last year's first quarter and up 108 percent from the same period in 2019.

Kroger also said that its first-quarter profit dropped 88.4 percent from a year ago to $140 million, reflecting one-time items, including pension withdrawals and an investment loss.

In a statement, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said, "Kroger is even better positioned to connect with our customers than we were prior to the pandemic as a result of our relentless focus on leading with fresh and accelerating with digital. I am incredibly proud of our amazing associates who continue to be there for our customers, communities, and each other when they need us most and who strive to deliver a full, fresh, and friendly experience to every customer, every time.

"Kroger’s strong execution delivered identical sales results in the first quarter that exceeded our original expectations. Customers are responding to the investments we have made in digital, as evidenced by our triple-digit growth in digital sales since the beginning of 2019. We were disciplined in driving costs out of the business and we achieved record growth in Kroger’s alternative profit business, demonstrating the power and attractiveness of our long-term model."

Based on the Q1 results, Kroger said it was raising its sales and earnings guidance for 2021.