Retail giant The Kroger Co. reported sales and earnings gains in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Cincinnati-based Kroger’s adjusted net earnings in the quarter were $562 million, up from $506 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Total sales at the retailer, excluding fuel and an extra week in the reporting cycle, increased 2.7 percent from the year before.  

Identical store sales without fuel also were up, climbing 1.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016.

Kroger’s chairman and CEO, Rodney McMullen, traced the company’s fourth quarter success in part to its Restock Kroger initiative, which bolsters capital investments, cost savings and free cash flow.

"We launched Restock Kroger in the fall of 2017 and finished the year with positive momentum in our sales and overall business,” McMullen says. “Customers are letting us know that they see, feel and appreciate our efforts to redefine the customer experience – and they are rewarding us with growing loyalty. This is the cycle that creates long-term value for shareholders.”