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KROGER SETTLES MAJOR CLERK CONTRACTS FOR 1993

 CINCINNATI, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) said today that it has settled most of its major retail clerk contracts scheduled for renewal in 1993, including new agreements covering operations in Houston and Dallas; Denver; and Dayton, Ohio. The company said that the contracts contain provisions which will enable Kroger to remain competitive on a market-by-market basis. Many of the new contracts will result in significant cost reductions.
 Kroger Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph A. Pichler said the pattern of negotiations concluded during the first half of 1993 reflects the company's commitment to remain competitive against lower- cost and non-union operators.
 "Our goal in each contract negotiation is to reach a balance that fairly compensates our employees while allowing the company to level the playing field against non-union competitors and union operators with favorable contracts," Pichler said. "With the exception of San Antonio, our message has been accepted by our employees and the leadership of the local unions."
 In San Antonio, Texas, Kroger said that it will withdraw from the market in mid-August. San Antonio has been a marginal market for Kroger. Sales and market share have been held to low levels by strong competition. As part of its continual review of operations, Kroger identified San Antonio as an under-performing market and a candidate for asset redeployment. After notifying the union of this conclusion, the company and the local union leadership entered discussions in an effort to identify cost reductions that might have permitted Kroger to continue operations. Employees rejected the contract concessions that were subsequently proposed.
 Cash flow from Texas operations will be improved by the departure from San Antonio. The sale of the 15 stores will result in an estimated after tax charge against second quarter, 1993 earnings of $10-$15 million. The sale of San Antonio will permit Kroger to increase investment in other markets. With the closing of San Antonio, Kroger will continue to operate 148 Texas stores located primarily in the major metropolitan areas of Houston, Dallas and Ft. Worth. Earlier this month, Kroger clerks in Dallas ratified a new three year contract. Houston clerks ratified a two year contract in February 1993.
 Kroger is currently negotiating new contracts covering clerks in 13 stores in Toledo, Ohio, 13 stores in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and 14 stores in western Colorado. The next major retail clerk contract is not scheduled for negotiation until May 1994.
 -0- 6/23/93
 /CONTACT: Paul Bernish, media, 513-762-1304, or Pam Taylor, investors, 513-762-4969, both of The Kroger Co./
 (KR)


CO: The Kroger Company ST: Ohio IN: REA SU: CON

BM -- CL011 -- 4951 06/23/93 10:49 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 23, 1993
Words:440
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