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KROGER LOWERS 1992 INTEREST EXPENSE ESTIMATE TO $475 MILLION

 KROGER LOWERS 1992 INTEREST EXPENSE ESTIMATE TO $475 MILLION
 CINCINNATI, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) said today it is projecting even lower interest expense for 1992 than previously estimated -- approximately $475 million -- down from earlier estimates of $485-$495 million. In 1991, Kroger's interest expense was $531 million.
 In remarks prepared for a security analysts' presentation in Dallas, Joseph A. Pichler, chairman and chief executive officer, said Kroger has generated $525 million in proceeds from three new debt issues since the beginning of the year. These proceeds, along with borrowings under its bank agreement, are used to repurchase higher cost debt, thus reducing overall interest expense.
 Since Kroger began repurchasing high cost debt in December of 1990, $1.1 billion of a total of $2.625 billion has been refinanced at lower rates. The remaining $1.5 billion will be refinanced over the next 21 months. Pichler stated that if interest rates stay reasonably close to current levels, Kroger expects 1994 interest expense to fall below $400 million.
 Pichler also said that identical store sales -- excluding Michigan stores -- are ahead by 1.06 percent in the first five weeks of the second quarter. Kroger clerks and meatcutters in the Michigan division have been on strike since April 13. Kroger stores in the division continue to operate and sales have increased significantly since the first few days of the strike.
 Pichler noted that operations in the Michigan division generally account for approximately five percent of total company sales and a lesser amount of cash flow.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /CONTACT: Paul Bernish (media), 513-762-1304; or Pam Taylor (investor), 513-762-4969; both of The Kroger Co./
 (KR) CO: The Kroger Company ST: Ohio IN: REA SU:


KK -- CL004 -- 6358 05/05/92 08:15 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 5, 1992
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