The Kroger Co. reported its third quarter results on Thursday, boasting net earnings of $397 million on sales of $27.7 billion, both of which exceeded Wall Street expectations. 

The news pushed shares of Kroger by as much as 14 percent, its biggest jump in nearly 25 years.

"This quarter shows that by investing for the future, our business continues to improve and gain momentum," says Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. "We remain confident in our ability to continue to grow identical supermarket store sales and market share for the balance of the year and in 2018."

Rodney McMullen

Kroger's total sales mark was up 4.5 percent from the third quarter of 2016 while total sales, excluding fuel, was up 3 percent. Gross margin was 22.4 percent of sales for the third quarter.

Same-store sales rose 1.1 percent, marking the second straight quarter of growth for the company. Wall Street analysts had predicted a 0.9 percent growth. Previously, Kroger had posted two straight quarters of negative same-store sales, marking its worst slump in more than a decade. 

The company also expects a strong holiday selling season. "The holidays are always Kroger's time to shine," McMullen says. "In fact, we had our best Black Friday results for general merchandise, led by record sales at Fred Meyer. Everything we are doing revolves around our associates providing friendly service and fresh products to our customers."