CINCINNATI -- Kroger here is investigating ways to further trim costs after reporting robust sales, but is "taking it on the chin on gross profit," David Dillon, chief executive officer, told analysts in a conference call last week. Kroger is three years into a strategic plan to grow sales by cutting its costs and lowering prices. Yet rising health care costs, combined with slow-to-no inflation, have prevented Kroger from cutting costs to a point where it could offset its margin investments ...

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