US-based retail company Kroger has reported sales of $31.9bn for the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 (FY21), which ended on 6 November.

This represents a 7.2% increase from $29.7bn in the same period of last year.

The company’s sales, excluding those of fuel, grew by 2.9% on a year-on-year basis. Its gross margin was 21.66% of sales for the quarter.

Kroger recorded an operating profit of $868m in the quarter, up from $792m in Q3 2020.

Its adjusted first in, first out (FIFO) operating profit grew from $871m to $974m.

The company’s digital sales increased by 103% from the same period of 2019.

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Due to the momentum in its Q3 results, the company has increased its full-year guidance.

It expects full-year adjusted earnings of between $3.40 and $3.50 for each share, an increase from its previous forecast of between $3.25 and $3.35.

The retailer has forecast an operating profit of between $4.1bn and $4.2bn and its same-store sales to be in the range of 13.7% to 13.9% on a two-year basis.

Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said: “Kroger’s strategy to lead with fresh and accelerate with digital continues to connect with our customers.

“Our agility, and the commitment from our amazing associates, is allowing us to navigate current labour and supply chain conditions and provide the freshest food at affordable prices across our store and digital ecosystem.

“Our focus on execution, combined with our continued discipline in balancing investments in our associates and customers with exceptional cost management, and growth in our alternative profit business allowed us to exceed internal expectations and deliver strong sales and earnings growth.”

Last month, Kroger entered a multi-category partnership with omnichannel retailer Bed Bath & Beyond.

Bed Bath & Beyond and its buybuy Baby subsidiary will sell some of their products, including bedding, storage and baby furniture and equipment, at Kroger from next year.

The products will initially be made available on Kroger’s website early next year.