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KROGER THIRD QUARTER OPERATING EARNINGS 8 CENTS VS. 18 CENTS

 KROGER THIRD QUARTER OPERATING EARNINGS
 8 CENTS VS. 18 CENTS
 CINCINNATI, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) said today that 1992 third quarter earnings before an extraordinary charge for debt refinancing declined by about half from last year's quarter.
 For the quarter, earnings before the extraordinary charge totaled $6.9 million, or eight cents per share, compared to earnings of $16.6 million, or 18 cents per share, in the 1991 third quarter. After the extraordinary charge of $27.3 million, Kroger reported a net loss of $20.4 million, or a loss of 22 cents per share, versus net earnings in 1991's third quarter of $14.5 million, or 16 cents per share.
 Operating cash flow totaled $232.2 million, compared to $268.9 million in the third quarter a year ago.
 Sales were $6.33 billion, a 1.7 percent increase over the 1991 third quarter. Identical food store sales were even with last year excluding Michigan, where a lengthy strike was settled on June 18, four days after the third quarter began.
 Year-to-date, Kroger reported operating cash flow of $629.0 million, while earnings before the extraordinary charge totaled $32.4 million, or 36 cents per share. Sales totaled $16.4 billion, up 1.4 percent.
 Kroger Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph A. Pichler said the company's third quarter results reflected the continuing impact of minimal food price inflation and net losses in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and the state of Texas.
 Pichler also said results were negatively affected by the impact of the Michigan strike, especially in the early weeks of the quarter. But he noted that performance in Michigan has improved significantly in recent weeks.
 The company said that in the currently favorable interest rate environment, it has replaced high coupon debt by successfully marketing more than $1 billion of lower cost bonds and debentures in 1992 as part of its financial strategy. Third quarter net interest expense declined 12.1 percent to $141.8 million. Kroger said it expects 1992 net interest expense to be approximately $475 million, down 10.6 percent from 1991.
 The Kroger Co.
 Sales and Earnings
 3rd Qtr 3rd Qtr Percent
 1992 1991 Change
 10/3/92 10/5/91
 Sales $6,333,076,002 $6,228,363,307 1.7
 EBITD (1) $ 232,241,514 $ 268,912,546 (13.6)
 LIFO $ (4,800,000) $ (9,900,000)
 Interest $ (141,758,150) $ (161,196,467)
 Depreciation
 Total $ (74,237,383) $ (70,050,912)
 Earnings before
 tax expense and
 extraordinary
 loss $ 11,445,981 $ 27,765,167
 Tax expense
 $ (4,582,888) $ (11,202,233)
 Earnings before
 extraordinary
 loss $ 6,863,093 $ 16,562,934
 Extraordinary
 loss(2) $ (27,292,380) $ (2,078,571)
 Net earnings
 (loss) $ (20,429,287) $ 14,484,363
 Earnings (loss)
 per common
 share (3):
 From operations $0.08 $0.18
 From extraordinary
 loss (2) ($0.30) ($0.02)
 Net earnings (loss)
 per common
 share ($0.22) $0.16
 Average number of
 common shares
 used in per share
 calculation 91,130,563 90,335,489
 3 Qtrs 3 Qtrs Percent
 1992 1991 Change
 10/3/92 10/5/91
 Sales $16,443,799,003 $16,221,881,253 1.4
 EBITD (1) $ 628,997,330 $ 717,240,543 (12.3)
 LIFO $ (14,200,000) $ (25,900,000)
 Interest $ (364,681,793) $ (410,122,912)
 Depreciation
 Total $ (190,948,377) $ (182,350,893)
 Earnings before
 tax expense and
 extraordinary
 loss $ 59,167,160 $ 98,866,738
 Tax expense $ (26,800,207) $ (39,289,642)
 Earnings before
 extraordinary
 loss $ 32,366,953 $ 59,577,096
 Extraordinary
 loss (2) $ (91,457,390) $ (9,137,182)
 Net earnings
 (loss) $ (59,090,437) $ 50,439,914
 Earnings (loss)
 per common
 share (3):
 From operations $0.36 $0.66
 From extraordinary
 loss (2) ($1.00) ($0.10)
 Net earnings (loss)
 per common
 share ($0.64) $0.56
 Average number of
 common shares
 used in per share
 calculation 91,086,985 90,209,700
 (1) EBITD represents pre-tax earnings before interest, depreciation and LIFO.
 (2) Represents the after-tax loss from the early retirement of debt.
 (3) Earnings (loss) per common share equals net earnings (loss) divided by the weighted number of common shares outstanding after giving effect to dilutive stock options. Fully diluted earnings per share are not presented since they approximate the reported per share figures.
 -0- 10/13/92
 /CONTACT: Paul Bernish (media), 513-762-1304; or Pam Taylor (investor), 513-762-4969; both of The Kroger Company/
 (KR) CO: The Kroger Company ST: Ohio IN: REA SU: ERN


KK -- CL009 -- 9164 10/13/92 09:26 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 13, 1992
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