Moody's affirms Kroger's Baa2 senior unsecured rating, P-2 commercial paper rating, maintains stable outlook, citing company's performance despite 'challenging and highly competitive business environment'

NEW YORK , September 2, 2011 () – Moody's Investors Service on Thursday affirmed all of the existing ratings on The Kroger Co. while keeping the grocery chain's outlook stable.

"Kroger has continued to outperform its peers in a challenging and highly competitive business environment as it focuses on customer satisfaction and loyalty through pricing, service and merchandising initiatives," Mickey Chadha, a senior analyst at Moody's, said in a statement.

Moody's affirmed Kroger's ratings, including its investment-grade "Baa2" senior unsecured rating and its "P-2" commercial paper rating.

The grocery industry has become intensely competitive as the number of retailers selling food has grown, giving consumers the choice of shopping at everywhere from dollar stores and drugstores to supermarkets and big-box retailers.

Moody's said that Kroger, despite the formidable challenge by these alternative food retailers, will remain a formidable competitor given its size, variety of store formats and array of private and national brands.

Kroger has also maintained its leadership position among traditional grocers and delivered strong sales despite intense price competition.

Kroger's shares fell 25 cents to $23.31 Thursday.

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