Grocery store operator The Kroger Co. has raised its quarterly dividend by almost 10 percent and said it approved a $1 billion share repurchase program.
The new quarterly dividend of 11.5 cents per share is payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record on Nov. 15.
Kroger said it expects to buy back the shares over the next 12 months; the program replaces an existing buyback that had about $213 million remaining.
David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO, noted that the company has returned more than $4.6 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases since 2006.
Kroger, based in Cincinnati, operates stores in 31 states under names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Ralphs and Smith's. Its shares were rose 51 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $22.61.
So far this year, there have been 248 dividend increases or introductions by companies in the S&P 500, according to Standard & Poor's. That compared with 256 for all of last year.
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