Supermarket operator Kroger reported a surprise decline in holiday-quarter same-store sales on Thursday as competition in the grocery industry in the United States intensified.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger's shares, which have lost more than a fifth of their value in the past year, fell 3.3 percent to $31.00 in premarket trading.
The company said, excluding fuel, sales from stores open for at least a year fell 0.7 percent, widely missing analysts' average estimate of a 0.1 percent rise, according to Consensus Metrix.
The No. 1 U.S. supermarket chain said it expected full-year same-store sales excluding fuel to either remain flat or rise as much as 1 percent.
The company, whose chains include Ralphs and Fred Meyer, forecast full-year earnings of $2.21-$2.25 per share. The midpoint of this range meets analysts' average estimate of $2.23 per share.