The Kroger Co (KR:US) reported its second-quarter results, which included adjusted earnings per share that exceeded the average analyst estimate.

Kroger reported adjusted EPS of 96 cents, surpassing the consensus estimate of 90 cents. The company's total sales for the quarter amounted to $33.85 billion, slightly below the estimate of $34.17 billion.

Shares fell one percent in early Friday trade.

Kroger reported a one percent increase in identical-store sales, excluding fuel, which was slightly below the estimated growth rate of 1.5%. The gross margin was 21.8%, higher than the estimated 21.4%. The company reaffirmed its full-year guidance.

CEO Rodney McMullen commented, "The strength and diversity of Kroger's business model is delivering consistent results in what remains a challenged environment. By investing in price and providing more personalized offers, we are helping customers stretch their budgets and manage the ongoing effects of reduced government benefits, inflation and higher interest rates.”

Kroger and Albertsons (ACI:US), which are finalizing a deal aimed at obtaining regulatory approval for their proposed $24.5 billion merger, agreed to sell over 400 grocery stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers for nearly $2 billion

This strategic move is designed to address potential antitrust concerns by reducing the combined market share of the merged entity in certain areas. 

Two companies said that the merger closing is on track to be completed in early 2024.

In August, Congressman Daniel Goldman disclosed the sale of KR shares implemented in mid-July.