CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. here on Tuesday posted quarterly earnings that exceeded analyst estimates, despite an overall sales decline triggered by a rapid deflation in fuel prices. For the fiscal first quarter that ended May 23, Kroger posted net income of $435.1 million, or 66 cents per share, on sales of $22.8 billion. Net earnings increased by 12.7% despite a sales decline of 1.3%. The sales decline was due entirely to the retail cost of fuel declining by an average of 41% compared with ...

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