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Kroger Sinks Most in a Year on Profit Forecast

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery-store chain, tumbled the most in a year after lowering the top end of its full-year profit forecast.

Kroger projected per-share earnings of $1.65 to $1.78, compared with its previous forecast of $1.60 to $1.80, according to a statement today by the Cincinnati-based retailer. The average of analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey was $1.78.

The slow economic recovery is hurting grocery sales and consumers are “cautious in their spending,” Chief Executive Officer David Dillon told analysts on a conference call. The recovery is slower and weaker than Kroger had expected and competition remains “intense,” he said.

Kroger sank $2.23, or 9.4 percent, to $21.63 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest decline since Dec. 8, 2009. The shares have gained 5.4 percent this year.

-- Editor: Robin Ajello, Cecile Daurat

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Burritt in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 1348 or cburritt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello in New York at rajello@bloomberg.net.

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