Retail giant The Kroger Co. reported higher sales in the second quarter of 2017, but the Cincinnati-based company’s earnings fell.

Total sales at Kroger rose 3.9%, from $26.6 billion in the second quarter of 2016 to $27.6 billion in the second quarter this year, according to the company’s Sept. 8 earnings report. Net earnings, however, fell from $383 million, or 40 cents per diluted share, to $353 million, or 39 cents.

Supermarket sales growth and guidance were other bright spots for Kroger in the second quarter. The company reported identical supermarket sales growth, without fuel, of .7% in the quarter and confirmed its net earnings guidance for 53 weeks of $1.74-1.79 per diluted share. Kroger also expects identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of .5 to 1% for the rest of the fiscal year.

Also on the negative side was Kroger’s gross margin in the second quarter. Excluding fuel and other charges, the company’s margin fell 30 basis points from the second quarter of 2016. Gross margin was 21.7% of sales in the second quarter of this year.

"Through innovation, Kroger is redefining the food and grocery customer experience based on our core strengths. Our second quarter results demonstrate the progress we've made,” said Rodney McMullen, the company’s chairman and CEO. “We returned to positive identical supermarket sales growth in the second quarter. We had strong growth in both loyal and total households. Traffic is up, unit movement is up, market share is up, and our customers' price perception is excellent and continues to improve.”