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Kroger's quarterly profit more than halves

June 15 (Reuters) - U.S. supermarket operator Kroger Co's on Thursday reported a 56.5 percent decline in quarterly profit, hurt by costs related to pension plans and as it offered voluntary retirement to some employees.

Net earnings attributable to Kroger plunged to $303 million, or 32 cents per share in the first quarter ended May 20, from $696 million or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company recorded a $126 million charge related to pension plan withdrawal liabilities and a $117 million expense for offering voluntary retirement to employees.

Sales climbed 4.9 percent to $36.29 billion.

Kroger's shares fell 7 percent in premarket trading. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)