Fitch Assigns BBB Rating on Kroger Notes

CHICAGO — Fitch Ratings here said Thursday it has assigned a rating of BBB (lower medium grade) to Kroger Co. [3]'s $450 million issue of 2.2% notes due in 2017, with a stable outlook.

Kroger issued the notes to fund a contribution to a newly consolidated multi-employer pension fund.

According to Fitch, the rating reflects Kroger's industry-leading sales growth and market share gain, strong cash flow and relatively steady credit metrics, along with its more aggressive share repurchase activity and intense price competition that will continue to pressure gross margins.