Kroger Co, the Cincinnati OH-based supermarket chain, reported a steeper-than-expected decline in quarterly profit, impacted by a two-month Southern California labor strike.
Net earnings were $110.2 million for the third fiscal quarter ended Nov 8, 2003, compared with net earnings of $254.6 million in the year-ago period. Kroger estimates the ongoing labor disputes affecting stores in Southern California and the West Virginia area reduced earnings by $0.12 per diluted share during the quarter.
Total sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2003 rose 3.8% to $12.1 billion, including stores affected by the labor disputes.
"We are pleased with our sales performance in the third quarter, especially in light of the current operating environment," said David B Dillon, Kroger chief executive officer.