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CINCINNATI-The Kroger Co. is keeping its eyes open for more acquisitions, but don’t expect a major spending spree, executives said at the company’s first-quarter conference call on Tuesday.

The company is dedicated to spending money carefully, both on acquisitions and on its remodeling program, said David Dillon, chairman and CEO. The company did not acquire any stores in the just-completed quarter.

“We’re seeing [acquisition] opportunities. They’re episodic and we take advantage,” when practical, Dillon said. “But prices are still a little steep and we want to be cautious.”

Likewise the company has not “splurged” on its remodeling program, undertaking just 37 in the last quarter, as well as opening 10 new, relocated or expanded stores.

Total sales including fuel in the first quarter were $22.8 billion, compared with $23.1 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel, total sales increased 3.9% over the prior year. Identical store sales, excluding fuel, increased 3.1%. Earnings were $435.1 million, compared with net earnings of $386.0 million in the same period last year.

Kroger operates 2,475 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under names including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, Dillons, QFC and City Market. The company also operates 764 convenience stores, 387 fine jewelry stores and 798 supermarket fuel centers.

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