CINCINNATI, March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co.'s (NYSE : KR ) Board of Directors today authorized a new $1 billion stock repurchase program. The timing of the repurchases will vary according to market conditions.
"Kroger's business continues to generate substantial cash flow, and we believe it is important to create value and reward shareholders through share repurchases, our quarterly dividend program and prudent debt management," said David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer. "This additional share repurchase authorization reflects the Board's confidence in our Customer 1st strategy and the Kroger team's ability to deliver results and reward shareholders today and in the future."
During fiscal year 2011, Kroger plans to use cash flow from operations and cash on hand to fund capital expenditures, repay debt maturing on April 1, repurchase shares, pay dividends to shareholders, and maintain its current debt rating.
Since January 2000, Kroger has returned $6.5 billion in total stock repurchases to shareholders and paid $1.1 billion in dividends. The dividend program was initiated in 2006. In addition, since January 2000, Kroger has reduced total debt by $1.1 billion.
Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 338,000 associates who serve customers in 2,458 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The Company also operates 786 convenience stores, 361 fine jewelry stores, 1,014 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the U.S. Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit www.kroger.com.
This press release contains a forward-looking statement about the future performance of the Company. This statement is based on management's assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. This statement is indicated by the word "plans." Our plans to use cash flow from operations and cash on hand to fund capital expenditures, repay debt, repurchase shares, pay dividends, and maintain our current debt rating, will depend on our ability to generate free cash flow and have cash on hand, which will be affected by increased competition, weather and economic conditions, interest rates, goodwill impairment, the success of programs designed to increase our identical supermarket sales without fuel, labor disputes, changes in government-funded benefit programs, and the extent to which capital expenditures can be made, debt can be repaid, repurchases can be made, and dividends can be paid, while still maintaining our debt rating. The forward-looking statement is subject to uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially. We assume no obligation to update the information contained herein. Please refer to Kroger's reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.