CINCINNATI — Kroger here reported net earnings of $322.9 million on sales of $17.2 billion during the fiscal fourth quarter that ended Feb. 2. Net earnings were down by 16% compared with the fourth quarter a year ago, which included an extra week. Earnings per share of 48 cents were a penny more than analyst estimates. Kroger took a $54 million charge for excess inventory, a larger bite than it had anticipated, as inflation increased by an estimated 3.8% during the quarter. Those changes ...
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