CINCINNATI — Kroger Co.'s long climb back to financial fitness reached a milestone last week when the company said it would no longer need to devote a third of its cash to servicing debt. Instead, Kroger officials announced a more shareholder-friendly financial strategy of using its free cash to fund the repurchase of up to $1 billion in company stock, and to fund a quarterly dividend. The move, which enhances Kroger's financial and strategic flexibility, met the approval of rating agency ...

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