US-based retail company Kroger has reported an operating profit of $4.1bn for fiscal 2022 (FY22), up from $3.47bn in fiscal 2021 (FY21).

For the 12 months to 28 January, the company recorded $148.25bn in sales, against $137.88bn a year earlier.

Its identical sales without fuel increased by 5.6% over the year, against 0.2% in FY21.

Net earnings attributable to Kroger in FY22 were $2.24bn, an increase from $1.65bn the prior year.

Its earnings per share (EPS) for the year were $3.06, compared with $2.17 in FY21, while its adjusted EPS were $4.23.

In the fourth quarter (Q4) of FY22, Kroger’s identical sales, excluding fuel sales, rose to 6.2%.

The company’s brands’ identical sales and digital sales grew by 10.1% and 12% respectively.

Its operating profit for the quarter fell to $826m from $965m a year earlier.

Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said: “Kroger achieved exceptional results in 2022 as we executed on our Leading with Fresh and Accelerating with Digital strategy, building on record years in 2020 and 2021. 

“We appreciate our associates for remaining customer-focused, delivering the products customers want, when and how they want them, with zero compromise on quality, convenience and selection.

“Our associates enable our success, and we are committed to investing in theirs by continuing to improve wages, comprehensive benefits and career development opportunities.”

In fiscal 2023, Kroger expects identical sales of 1.0–2.0%, excluding sales of fuel.

The company has forecast adjusted net earnings of $4.45-4.60 for each diluted share, including an estimated benefit of around $0.15 from the 53rd week.

In a separate development, Kroger revealed plans to invest more than $770m to increase the pay of its associates during 2023.

The company said it will use the investment to raise average hourly rates, improve healthcare options and develop new training and development opportunities among others.