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Kroger's Fred Meyer to exit firearms biz

Kroger Co.'s general merchandise chain Fred Meyer will exit the firearms business.

In a March 16 statement, the company said the decision was made after it reviewed "changing consumer preferences." It said it has been steadily reducing firearms and ammunition in stores over the past couple of years due to weakening consumer demand.

The transition away from gun departments is also part of its ongoing efforts to optimize space in its stores, the company added.

Fred Meyer said its firearm business generates about $7 million in annual revenue "and sales continue to decline."

In March, Kroger joined other U.S. retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. in tightening gun purchase restrictions, following the Parkland school shooting incident. The supermarket giant also recently said it will remove assault rifle-themed publications from its shelves.