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•  Kroger on Friday released its Q2 results, saying that total company sales were $33.9 billion, compared to $34.6 billion for the same period last year;  same stores sales for the period were up one percent.  Q2 digital sales were up 12 percent.

Kroger's Q2 operating profit came in at a loss of $479 million compared to a $954 million profit a year ago. 

CFO Gary Millerchip said in a prepared statement that "while industry-wide disinflation continues to impact food at home sales, our team is doing an excellent job managing the effect on our business.

"Looking forward, we believe inflation will continue to decelerate and the environment will remain challenging for consumers. We therefore expect identical sales without fuel will be at the low end of our full-year guidance range and slightly negative in the second half of the year. This outlook includes an approximately 150 basis points negative impact due to the termination of our agreement with Express Scripts.

"As demonstrated by our year-to-date results, we believe we have the flexibility within our business model to navigate this environment and remain on track to deliver our 2023 adjusted FIFO operating profit and adjusted net earnings per diluted share guidance."

•  From CNBC:

"Kroger on Friday said it has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to U.S. states, local governments and Native American tribes to settle the majority of claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic through lax oversight of its pill sales.

"The settlement would allow for 'full resolution' of all claims on behalf of those parties, the company said in a release ahead of its fiscal second-quarter earnings. Kroger is now the latest retail pharmacy chain to announce a nationwide settlement agreement after Walgreens, CVS and Walmart did last fall.

"Still, Kroger said the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability."

The story notes that "state and local governments have filed thousands of lawsuits against drug companies and wholesalers accused of contributing to the oversupply of prescription drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic, resulting in a plethora of settlement deals.

"More than 564,000 people died from overdoses involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids, from 1999 to 2020, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Most deaths initially involved prescription drugs. Governments, doctors and companies took steps to make them harder to abuse and obtain, but people with opioid use disorder increasingly switched to heroin, which proved to be more deadly."

•  From Fox Business:

"J.M. Smucker said on Monday it will acquire Hostess Brands in a deal worth approximately $5.6 billion, or $34.25 a share.

"Smucker will take ownership of noted baked goods like Twinkies, CupCakes, DingDongs, Zingers and HoHos. The company also agreed to assume roughly $900 million of Hostess' debt."

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.