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    Kroger Employee Vote Set for Today

    CHARLESTON, W. Va. - About 3,000 Kroger employees from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky are expected to vote here today on a contract that could end a two-month strike.

    CHARLESTON, W. Va. - About 3,000 Kroger employees from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky are expected to vote here today on a contract that could end a two-month strike.

    The workers will vote on a pact that Kroger and the Union made with the help of negotiators.

    Kroger has been hurt by labor troubles in those states, as well as in Indiana and California. On Tuesday the Cincinnati-based retailer reported that third-quarter earnings fell 57 percent to $110.2 million, primarily because of the strike. The company also reduced its forecast for the rest of the year.

    Sales for the third quarter increased 3.8 percent to $12.1 billion, compared with $11.7 billion in 2002. However, identical food store sales -- excluding fuel sales -- fell 0.6 percent.

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