Shares of Kroger Co. /zigman2/quotes/206215053/composite KR -0.11% rose 0.4% in premarket trading Thursday, after the grocery store chain raised its quarterly dividend by 24%. The new dividend of 26 cents a share, up from 21 cents a share, will be payable Sept. 1 to shareholders of record on Aug. 15. Based on Wednesday's stock closing price of $47.34, the new annual dividend rate implies a dividend yield of 2.20%, which compares with the yield for the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF /zigman2/quotes/200697959/composite XLP -0.54% of 2.57% and the implied yield for the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.23% of 1.72%. "This dividend increase reflects the Board of Directors' confidence in our strategy of Leading with Fresh, Accelerating with Digital," said Chief Executive Rodney McMullen. "Our business continues to generate strong and consistent free cash flow and has proven to be resilient in a variety of operating environments." Kroger's stock has gained 4.6% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has dropped 21.1%.