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Kroger CEO addresses FTC merger lawsuit after Q4 2023 financial report 

kroger albertsons merger

Despite a 0.8 percent drop in comparable-store sales, Kroger BB #:100073 executives were pleased with the retailer’s fourth quarter 2023 financial results which showed year-over-year increases in overall sales, operating profit, and earnings per share. 

The March 7 report showed $37 billion in sales for the quarter, up 6 percent from Q4 2022, and a rise in operating profit from $826 million in Q4 2022 to $1.194 billion in Q4 2023, a 44.5 percent increase. 

During a fourth quarter 2023 earnings call March 7, Rodney McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO, addressed the FTC’s challenge to the Kroger-Albertsons merger:

“I’d like to provide an update on our pending merger with Albertsons Company. While we were disappointed about the FTC’s recent attempt to challenge our merger, we were not surprised given the current political environment. Our track record in previous mergers is clear. Kroger lowered prices, invested in associates, improved the customer experience, and deepened its connections with the communities we serve. 

“The character of a company is clear in its actions regardless of what others claim. Kroger keeps its commitments, and we’re happy to share this with whomever is willing to talk with us. We know this merger will result in a secure future for union jobs. Kroger has added more than 100,000 union jobs in a national retail environment where these union jobs shrank elsewhere. We are making historic investments in wages including $2.4 billion in incremental investments since 2018 on top of hundreds of millions of dollars in benefit investments. 

“The retail industry continues to be more competitive. We know our customers better than anyone. And every day, they make decisions about where to buy their groceries and how they eat. They shop with us, they shop with a wide range of competitors from Costco to Amazon to dollar stores, and they eat at restaurants. No matter how others define the industry, we know how our customers behave and we run our business accordingly. 

“Throughout my four decades in the retail business, I have seen that when we take care of our customers and take care of our associates, our shareholders benefit. This is true in the past, and this will be true in the future. I know you likely have questions on the next steps. Here’s what we know today. The FTC joined by several states has sued to enjoin the merger. Two states, Washington and Colorado, have also sued separately. We are committed to defending the merger and litigation because we believe this is the best outcome for America’s families. 

“We cannot close the merger while these actions are pending. Hearing dates have not been set yet, but we expect these to proceed in the mid- to late summer. We remain excited about the future of our combined company, and we look forward to explaining the benefits of our merger.” 


Greg Johnson is Vice President of Media for Blue Book Services