CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. on Friday said second-quarter earnings increased by 7.3% on a sales increase of 11.5%, but its stock tumbled in early trading as gross margins slid by 53 basis points. Kroger reported earnings of $280.8 million on sales of $18.8 billion in the quarter, which ended Aug. 13. Identical-store sales excluding fuel increased by 5.3% in the quarter. Earnings per share of 46 cents exceeded analyst estimates of 43 cents. The sales results prompted Kroger to raise its ...

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