KROGER HIT BY RISING COSTS, COMPETITION

CINCINNATI -- Kroger here said last week it is committed to continuing to invest gross profit margin to maintain its sales base, even if that investment results in diminishing returns during the current economic downturn.The company said gross profit margin will decline 10 to 25 basis points this year, compared with projected increases of 20 to 30 basis points, Joseph A. Pichler, chairman, explained.

CINCINNATI -- Kroger here said last week it is committed to continuing to invest gross profit margin to maintain its sales base, even if that investment results in diminishing returns during the current economic downturn.

The company said gross profit margin will decline 10 to 25 basis points this year, compared with projected increases of 20 to 30 basis points, Joseph A. Pichler, chairman, explained. "Competitive conditions thus far have prevented us from increasing gross profit marg

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