WASHINGTON, D.C. – New earnings data released today by Kroger reveals that the company hit $566 million in net income in its fourth quarter after hiking prices on consumers. Kroger’s Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said the company enjoyed “record performance” in both 2021 and 2020. Meanwhile the grocery chain spent a staggering $2.2 billion on shareholder handouts last year after it previously admitted it was “‘passing along higher cost to the customer.'” As Accountable.US continues to document, Kroger is among several major food industry companies using the pandemic as cover to increase their wealth and line their shareholders’ pockets at the expense of working families.
“Kroger would have its customers believe they marked up prices just to keep up with outside costs – but the half billion in net income last quarter and whopping $2.2 billion worth of shareholder rewards the grocery giant doled out last year alone suggests otherwise. The sooner corporations stop using the pandemic as an excuse to demand more from consumers while their profits soar, the sooner we’ll see costs stabilize for working families,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US.
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF PANDEMIC PROFITEERING IN OUR GROCERY STORES:
- Hormel Foods—which planned on hiking prices not once, but twice, in 2021—touted “its fifth consecutive quarter of record net sales” and $132 million in first quarter shareholder dividends. The company is doing so well that it completed a $3.35 billion acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s Planters peanuts — the largest acquisition in the company’s history. CEO Jim Snee even admitted that this acquisition was a “catalyst for earnings growth.”
- After Mondelez — whose brands include Oreo, Ritz, Wheat Thins, and Triscuits — saw its gross profit increase by over $800 million in 2021, the company still jacked up prices by up to 7% in January 2022 and is leaving the door open to raising them again despite spending nearly $4 billion on stock buybacks and dividends in 2021.
- Shortly after General Mills announced price hikes of up to 20% on hundreds of items in November 2021, the company reported an $800 million quarterly operating profit, which may have helped pay for the nearly $1 billion spent on shareholder dividends and stock buybacks in just the first half of its 2022 fiscal year.
- In January 2022, Albertsons Companies — owner of several major grocery chains, including Safeway— still chose to hike prices on consumers despite “better-than-expected results,” with its quarterly net income increasing 243% year-over year.