CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. here on Thursday said identical-store sales in the fiscal fourth quarter increased by 4.9% excluding fuel — figures that exceeded most analyst estimates and defied trends among competitors. The company posted a loss for the quarter of $306.9 million, related mainly to a previously announced pension consolidation, but said adjusted earnings totaled 50 cents per share — exceeding consensus estimates of 49 cents. Sales for the quarter, which ended ...

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