CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. says it lost $875 million in its third quarter, blaming tough price competition and the struggling California economy's hit on its grocery business.

Cincinnati-based Kroger also cut its profit and sales forecast for the full year.

Kroger owns Littman and Fred Meyer Jewelers, as well as Turkey Hill mini-markets, including those in Downingtown and Coatesville.

The nation's largest traditional grocery took a $1.05 billion write-down on the Ralphs division it acquired a decade ago, saying stores in California have been hurt by the state's economic woes.

Kroger reported a loss of $1.35 a share, compared with profit of $237.7 million, or 36 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose less than 1 percent to $17.7 billion.

Without the Ralphs write-down, profit would have been $176.7 million, or 27 cents. Analysts expected 36 cents a share on $17.7 billion.