Kroger's fourth quarter earnings, released Thursday, fell short of expectations, but the company remains upbeat about its ongoing transformation and battle with Amazon and Walmart.

Kroger's adjusted earnings sat at 48 center per share, well below the 52 cents per share predicted by analysts. Also, net sales during the quarter, which ended on Feb. 2, fell 9.5% to $28.09 billion, which also fell short of expectation.

But Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen pointed to other signs, including identical sales without fuel, which say at 1.8%, an improvement over a year ago, as well as a 58% growth in digital sales. The company expanded pick-up or delivery to reach 91% of Kroger households.

"Kroger solidly delivered on what we set out to do in 2018, which was an investment year that laid the groundwork for us to achieve our 2020 Restock Kroger targets including financials," McMullen says. "We reached our FIFO operating profit goal and finished the year with sales and business momentum. We have a clear path to achieve $400 million in incremental FIFO operating profit growth and $6.5 billion in cumulative Restock cash flow by the end of 2020."

Part of Restock Kroger's fourth quarter highlights include introducing Kroger Pay and a Kroger Rewards debit card, as well as expanded nationwide retail rollout of Home Chef meal kits.