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Kroger Posts Higher 1Q Earnings

June 25, 2002

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ The Kroger Co. said Tuesday that first quarter earnings increased 19 percent despite one-time costs, fueled by ongoing cost reductions, productivity efforts and higher sales of private-label products such as the Kroger brand.

The nation’s largest supermarket operator reported earnings of $361.9 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter ended May 25, up from $303.4 million in the same period last year.

Excluding one-time restructuring costs and an accounting change, earnings were $385.7 million, or 48 cents a share, beating by 4 cents the prediction by Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Sales for the quarter were $15.7 billion, up nearly 4 percent from the first quarter of 2001. The company opened, expanded, moved or acquired 34 food stores in the quarter. Sales for comparable stores rose 0.6 percent.

``We expect that the same-store sales increase in the second quarter will be higher,″ chairman and chief executive Joseph Pichler said. ``In the first four weeks of the second quarter, same-store sales are running ahead of that mark.″

Kroger shares were down 10 cents at $18.86 Tuesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.

The chain operates more than 2,400 supermarkets and department stores under about two dozen names in 32 states, and also operates convenience stores, jewelry stores, supermarket gas stations and food processing plants.

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On the Net:

Kroger: http://www.kroger.com

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