THE NUMBERS: The Kroger Co. said its profit dipped in the second quarter as its expenses and tax rate increased.
THE DETAILS: The nation's largest traditional supermarket chain said a key sales figure rose 3.6 percent in the period. But merchandise costs — which include advertising, warehouse and transportation expenses — also rose 4.3 percent. Its tax rate rose to 34.5 percent, from 27.6 percent.
THE BACKGROUND: Like other supermarkets, Kroger has been paying more to stock its shelves as a result of rising commodity costs. The company has tried to offset the impact by introducing more store-brand items, which lessens its need to stock up on brand-name products.