US-based retail company Kroger has reported sales of $44.6bn for the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year 2022 (FY22), which ended on 21 May.

This represents an increase from $41.3bn in the same period of last year.

Kroger’s sales, excluding sales of fuel, rose by 3.8% year-over year (YoY) in Q1 2022, while its identical sales, excluding those of fuel, increased by 4.1% from the prior-year period.

The company’s gross margin represented 21.6% of its sales for Q1.

Its first-in, first-out (FIFO) gross margin rate, excluding fuel, dropped by 26 basis points compared with the first quarter of FY21.

Kroger’s operating profit also grew from $805m in Q1 2021 to $1.5bn in Q1 2022.

The retailer’s earnings per diluted share (EPS) for the quarter amounted to $0.90, up from $0.18 in the same period of last year.

Its adjusted EPS also increased to $1.45 from $1.19 on a YoY basis.

Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said: “Kroger achieved strong first-quarter results as we successfully executed on our strategy of Leading with Fresh and Accelerating with Digital.

“We are incredibly proud of our associates who continue to put the customer at the centre of everything we do.

“Our team is doing an outstanding job managing costs in an inflationary environment, which is allowing us to continue to invest in our associates while providing our customers with the freshest food at affordable prices when and where they need it.

“We are delivering everyday value through personalised experiences, trusted Our Brands products, data-driven promotions, and seamless e-commerce solutions.”

For the full year, Kroger expects its identical sales growth without fuel to be in the range of 2.5% to 3.5% and its adjusted EPS to be between $3.85 and $3.95.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans to build a spoke facility in Louisville, Kentucky.