CINCINNATI -- Kroger here said last week it plans to launch an aggressive program to build sales, an effort that will be paid for in part by laying off 1,500 clerical and management employees, mostly in the next year. During a conference call with analysts to discuss financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended Nov. 10, Joseph A. Pichler, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "We deeply regret having to announce staff-reduction plans, especially at this time of year. ...

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