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    Kroger to Combine Michigan and Columbus Divisions

    CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. on Monday announced plans to combine its two retail divisions headquartered in Livonia, Mich., and Columbus, Ohio, in an effort to reduce operating costs, improve administrative efficiencies, and invest additional capital in the core grocery business to drive sales growth.

    CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. on Monday announced plans to combine its two retail divisions headquartered in Livonia, Mich., and Columbus, Ohio, in an effort to reduce operating costs, improve administrative efficiencies, and invest additional capital in the core grocery business to drive sales growth.

    Kroger's Michigan division operates 113 stores under the Kroger and Kessel Food Markets banners in Michigan, while the Columbus division operates 116 stores under the Kroger banner in central and northwestern Ohio and parts of West Virginia.

    Jon Flora, currently president of Kroger's Michigan division, will lead the combined division of 229 stores and will relocate to Columbus. M. Marnette Perry, currently president of the Columbus division, has been promoted to group VP of perishables merchandising and procurement for the company and will join Kroger's senior management team as a corporate officer in Cincinnati.

    Flora said Kroger will maintain the regional office in Livonia to ensure that local marketing and operating decisions are kept close to the customer. Gary Raymond, currently VP of operations in Michigan, and Terry Frey, VP of merchandising, will lead the regional office and continue reporting to Flora.

    Mel Bomprezzi, currently VP of operations in Columbus, and Joe Grieshaber, VP of merchandising, will remain in their respective positions and also report to Flora.

    Kroger employs approximately 12,500 associates in its Michigan division stores and 14,500 in its Columbus division stores. The combining of the divisions will not affect any of those store employees.

    Flora also said the company plans to invest more than $185 million over the next three years to build, expand and remodel its Michigan store base.

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