A senior executive of The Kroger Co. today said the Company was “disappointed” with the Federal Trade Commission’s decision to withhold approval of the Company’s plan to purchase 74 Winn-Dixie stores in Texas and Oklahoma.

“We are disappointed with the FTC’s decision,” said Paul Heldman, Kroger senior vice president and general counsel. “We continue to believe that this transaction would benefit customers in Texas and southern Oklahoma who would be offered the benefits of Kroger’s superior selection, service and value in this aggressively competitive market. We intend to explore our legal alternatives.”

The Company declined further comment.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is the nation’s largest retail grocery chain. The Company currently operates more than 2,300 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under more than a dozen banners, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Smith’s, King Soopers, Dillon, Fry’s, City Market, Food 4 Less and Quality Food Centers. Kroger also operates 796 convenience stores, 389 fine jewelry stores and 42 food processing plants.