KROGER SEEKS SALES GROWTH WITHOUT MARGIN SACRIFICE

CINCINNATI -- Kroger here said last week it expects to emphasize non-price initiatives to build sales this year as part of an effort to halt overly aggressive pricing investments that hammered the company's margins in 2004.

Kroger said its gross margins fell to 25.08% for the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, compared with 26.43% in the prior year. This is a decline of 135 basis points, which was double the investment it had anticipated. The company reported a loss of $128 million

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