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      Kroger affirms forecast, sees grocery prices hikes

      Kroger Co. says grocery prices are rising slightly, and it plans to pass long those hikes, but it may benefit from fuel prices going up because the discounts it offers on gasoline could attract more shoppers.

      At the Barclays Capital analyst conference in New York on Tuesday, the nation's largest grocery store operator also affirmed its guidance for the year.

      Kroger expects to earn $1.80 to $1.92 per share and revenue rise 3 percent to 4 percent at stores open at least 15 months, a key gauge.

      Analysts expect earnings of $1.91 a share and a 6 percent increase in overall revenue to $86.9 billion.

      CEO David Dillon says grocery prices have gone up 2 percent since late last year.

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