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Kroger’s Loss Widens in Q4

Cincinnati, Kroger Co. posted a loss of $675.9 million in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29, compared to a loss of $337.4 million in the same quarter last year. The company’s identical store sales including fuel increased 2.1% as total sales increased 5.1% to $13.7 billion.

Kroger’s results include a goodwill impairment charge of $884 million related to the Ralphs and Food 4 Less operations, which operate about 450 stores in Southern California. In a statement, the retailer pointed to strong sales momentum. “This momentum has continued in fiscal 2005, with identical food-store sales through the first five weeks running ahead of our fourth-quarter results,” said David Dillon, chairman and CEO.

For all of 2004, Kroger lost $128 million, compared to earnings of $314.6 million in the prior year. Full-year sales rose to $56.4 billion from $53.8 billion a year earlier.

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