• From the Associated Press:
"The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the United States fell for the third straight week. That’s good news for American workers, but potentially bad news in the fight against inflation by the Federal Reserve, which has been ratcheting up its benchmark interest rate for a year in an effort to cool the economy, loosen the labor market, and tame inflation.
"Applications for jobless claims in the United States for the week ending Feb. 25 fell to 190,000 from 192,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It’s the seventh straight week claims were under 200,000."
• Kroger released its annual and Q4 results yesterday, saying that total company sales were $34.8 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to $33.0 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel, sales increased 5.9% compared to the same period last year.
Same-store sales were up 6.2 percent, while digital sales were up 12 percent and private label sales were up 10.,1 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Operating profit was $826 million, down from $965 million from the same period a year ago.
Total company sales were $148.3 billion in 2022, compared to $137.9 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel, sales increased 5.2% compared to the same period last year. Full-year operating profit was $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion a year ago, on annual same-store sales that were up 5.6 percent.
• Publix Super Markets said that its Q4 sales were $15.3 billion, a 22% increase from $12.6 billion in 2021; same store sales for the period were up 12.4 percent. Net earnings for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2022 were $1.3 billion, compared to $1.1 billion in 2021, an increase of 21.6%.
Publix’s sales for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 were $54.5 billion, a 13.6% increase from $48 billion in 2021. Comparable store sales for the fiscal year increased 9.9%. Net earnings for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2022 were $2.9 billion, compared to $4.4 billion in 2021, a decrease of 33.9%.
• Costco said that its Q2 net sales "increased 6.5 percent, to $54.24 billion, from $50.94 billion last year. Net sales increased 7.3 percent, to $107.68 billion, from $100.35 billion last year. Same store sales were up 6.8 percent.