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Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery-store chain, rose in early trading after first-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates, helped by lower costs.

Profit in the quarter through May 23 was $1.25 a share, the company said Thursday in a statement. The average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $1.22.

The quarter’s results were helped by Kroger’s focus on running its stores more cheaply. Operating expenses as a portion of sales were 15 basis points lower than a year earlier. Chief Financial Officer Michael Schlotman said after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report in March that Kroger has reduced costs by that measure for 10 straight years.

The shares rose as much as 4.4 percent to $76.10 in New York. Cincinnati-based Kroger had climbed 14 percent this year through Wednesday.

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