Supermarket chain Kroger Co. reported that its fourth-quarter profits rose 8% from a year ago as sales of its corporate brands reached a record-high.

Kroger reported net income of $349 million, or 53 cents a share, compared to net income of $323 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same period last year. Total sales were $17.3 billion compared with $17.2 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Kroger said sales of its corporate brands hit a record 35% of total grocery unit sales, driven by its value and private selection lines.

The company reported that its total market share grew in 36 of its 42 major markets. "Though shoppers are more cautious than they were even three months ago, we remain optimistic about 2009," said Kroger CEO David Dillon.


For the quarter ended Jan. 31, Kroger said identical supermarket sales growth—a key barometer of its health—was 3.8%, excluding sales at its gas pumps. While this growth was down from the same period last year, it is better than other U.S. supermarket chains, according to aDow Jonesnews report.