Kroger says customers 'uncertain' about the economy The company said it is "pleased where business is trending" and is also pleased with business growth achieved during the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. The company said that this increase in spending "gives confidence" in meeting guidance for the future quarter." Says internal research shows customers "uncertain" about the economy. The company also commented that "What little economic recovery there is remains bifurcated." Says factors impacting an already fragile consumer sentiment include government gridlock, various concerns about healthcare, and says it remains to be seen how the reduction in SNAP benefits will impact the entire U.S. retail industry. Says continues to see high variability in sales comparisons between days and weeks. Says results continue to be pressured by rising healthcare and pension costs which some of its competitors do not face. Estimates the rate of product cost inflation at 1.5% excluding fuel and pharmacy. Says Harris-Teeter acquisition proceeding as planned. Comments made on the company's Q3 earnings conference call.
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