CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here last week reported better-than-expected earnings and cash flow for the first quarter. It marked the second consecutive quarter Kroger, the nation's largest supermarket operator, significantly exceeded Wall Street's expectations. In the quarter ended March 26, Kroger said earnings before an extraordinary item increased 88.8% to $55.7 million, or 46 cents per share. The extraordinary item of $8.3 million was related to early debt retirement. Securities analysts' ...

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