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The Kroger Co. yesterday honored 81 outstanding minority-owned and women-owned vendors for 2004, companies that were nominated by corporate and division buyers and merchandisers. The honorees were selected for the second annual award based on several criteria, including quality of product or service, innovation and presentation of new ideas, performance, and sales volume. The firms fall into two categories: those that provide retail products or services for sale in Kroger's stores, and not-for- resale products and service. In 2004, Kroger spent approximately $780 million with these kinds of companies.

"Supplier diversity plays an integral role in Kroger's strategy, and we're proud to honor the talented partners that have helped us in all aspects of our business," said Don McGeorge, Kroger president and chief operating officer. "Our goal is to be sure that Kroger's suppliers reflect the broad diversity of the customers and marketplaces we serve."
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