NEW YORK (AP) — The Kroger Company increased sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 but reported a net loss, in part because of a big payment the company made to consolidate pension plans for union workers.
The nation’s biggest supermarket chain, which operates Kroger, Ralphs, Food 4 Less and other grocery stores, says revenue from stores open at least a year was 4.9% higher during the fourth quarter than it was during the comparable quarter in 2010. Total sales increased 7.7%, to $21.4 billion.
Excluding results from its fuel stations, which are subject to volatility and not considered part of the company’s core business, sales increased 5%.
But Kroger, Cincinnati, says it lost $307 million during its fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 28. The company reported a profit of $279 million for the fourth quarter of 2010.
One major one-time item was a $650 million contribution that Kroger made to a new pension fund in January.