CINCINNATI — It wasn’t so bad after all for Kroger Co., which last week posted financial results that bucked some recent industry trends while forecasting a rosy new year. “As we look to [fiscal] 2012 we expect the external environment to be a little better than 2011,” David Dillon, chief executive officer, told analysts in a conference call discussing fourth-quarter financial results and the company’s outlook. “All of the data we’re seeing ...

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