CINCINNATI, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co.'s (NYSE: KR) Board of Directors today approved a $1 billion share repurchase program, replacing the existing authorization that has approximately $2 million remaining. Also today, Kroger's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of 16.5 cents per share, to be paid on June 1, 2014, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 15, 2014. Over the last four quarters, Kroger has used its strong free cash flow to return more than $928 million to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends. Since January 2000, Kroger has returned approximately $10 billion to shareholders through share repurchases. Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,640 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 786 convenience stores, 320 fine jewelry stores, 1,240 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club. SOURCE The Kroger Co.