The grocery business is a rapidly changing industry.
Between the arrival of new discounters like Lidl and the imminent threat of Amazon entering the physical store space through its Whole Foods deal, the industry’s incumbents have to continually reinvent themselves to keep up with the new competition.
Kroger knows that the key to success is its people. That’s why on July 17, the company announced it will shore up its employee pension fund with a contribution of up to $1 billion.
Here’s what’s new at Kroger
If you like shopping at Kroger, you’ll want to know about these developments…
Meet Kroger — by any other name
Kroger has long been the nation’s second largest grocer behind Walmart. Today it operates 2,792 retail food stores under a variety of different names in 35 states and Washington, D.C.
Maybe you’re familiar with grocery stores like Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick N’ Save, Copps, Metro Market or Mariano’s. They’re all part of Kroger’s grocery empire!
Kroger has the humblest of origins
Barney Kroger took his life savings of $372 and opened a grocery store at 66 Pearl Street in downtown Cincinnati in 1883. At most recent check, the store has annual sales of more than $109.8 billion!
It’s official: Kroger is America’s favorite grocery store
Public opinion data company Morning Consult Intelligence conducted 200,000 interviews with people since January 2017 and asked them about a variety of companies across 11 different industries.
It turns out there’s a clear winner in the grocery category. Kroger claimed the top spot with a favorability rating of 53% in the Spring 2017 Most Loved Brands list. That was the highest score assigned to any grocer.
Kroger loves hiring veterans
Kroger has given 35,000 vets jobs over the last five years. Last December, the company hired 4,000 veterans during a one-day hiring event!
Kroger has $4 generic meds for pets
When you go to the vet and they write a prescription for your pet, they typically also fill it for you at a high markup. That’s created an opportunity for Kroger to offer $4 generic meds for cats and dogs at all of its pharmacies. The $4 price point is usually for a 30-day supply. If you want 90 days, you’ll generally pay around $10 or so.
Kroger values sustainability
Sustainability is important to many companies and Kroger is no exception. By 2020, the company has set the following goals:
- Expanding their 100% sustainable seafood commitment
- Achieving the EPA’s ‘zero waste’ threshold of 90% in all facilities
- Optimizing 100% of corporate brand packaging
- Transitioning toward a 100% cage-free egg supply chain
Kroger is testing dynamic pricing in at least one store
Dynamic demand pricing may have started in the airline industry, but it’s stretched out everywhere from retail to the pricing on apartment rentals.
What exactly is dynamic demand pricing? It’s the idea that price moves up and down based on demand. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported one Kroger in Kentucky is experimenting with electronic price tags that change throughout the day.
So you might put a box of cereal in your cart thinking it’s $1.50…and then when you get to checkout it out could cost $1.59 or maybe even 99 cents!
Kroger recently did away with senior discounts at some locations
Here’s a carrot-and-a-stick scenario if there ever was one…
On May 17, Kroger nixed the 5% senior discount on Wednesdays at 188 of its Atlanta Division stores, which includes Georgia, South Carolina and Eastern Alabama locations.
But the good news is the grocer also lowered prices at those same stores!
Kroger is a major player in the organic market
Kroger has its own branded organic line called Simple Truth. It’s a private label which has sales by itself that exceed the annual sales of a lot of entire supermarket chains in the United States! In 2015, Simple Truth products did $1.5 billion in business, according to Food Business News.
You’ll typically find the clearance rack in the back
While Publix tends to make their clearance rack or table a little easier to find by generally putting it at the front of the store, Kroger takes the opposite approach. Look for their clearance area near the back of the store.
As the picture shows, Kroger will often sell clearance items at just one cent above cost!
‘These clearance racks have potentially VERY GOOD price items,’ according to the blog Living Frugal Does Not Have To Feel Poor. ‘We found not long ago that Nature Valley’s Sweet and Salty nut boxes [were] $1.00 each!!! Usually, this costs $2 ~ $2.50. So that’s a good deal.’
Kroger has a fine jewelry division
This may sound crazy, but did you know that Kroger operates a fine jewelry division consisting of 323 jewelry stores in 30 states under the banners of Fred Meyer Jewelers and Littman Jewelers? It’s true!
Stranger yet, Kroger’s website reports that while you’re likely to find these stores inside malls, they are some locations inside food stores! Look for them at select Kroger Marketplace, Dillons Marketplace, Fry’s Marketplace, Smith’s Marketplace and King Soopers Marketplace stores around the country.
Read more: 11 ways to save even more at Kroger