Kroger debuts three offerings in support of digital efforts

CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. is focused on delivering a “customer-centric, seamless experience that requires zero compromise no matter how customers choose to engage with us,” William Rodney McMullen, chairman and chief executive officer, said during a Dec. 2 conference call with analysts to discuss third-quarter results.

Against that backdrop, Mr. McMullen pointed to three new offerings launched by the Cincinnati-based retailer during the third quarter that support its plan to double digital sales and digital profitability by 2023.

First, the company introduced Boost by Kroger. Mr. McMullen said the initiative builds on Kroger’s loyalty program to deliver additional savings and personalized offers to members.

“We are encouraged by the initial engagement in the program, which is ahead of internal expectations,” he said.

Second, Kroger debuted Kroger Delivery Now in partnership with Instacart.

“This unique convenience and immediacy offering positions us to win more trips with current customers and to bring new customers to the Kroger ecosystem by offering the largest selection of quality fresh products at affordable prices in 30 minutes,” Mr. McMullen said. “Here’s what’s so special about this offering. It was profitable on day 1, contributing to our goal to double digital profitability by 2023 that was announced during our 2021 Investor Day.”

The third new offering launched in the third quarter was a strategic collaboration with Bed Bath & Beyond and buybuy Baby that is expected to expand Kroger’s current marketplace offering and provide shoppers easy access to essential home and baby products.

Also during the third quarter Kroger said its Home Chef meal solutions brand reached $1 billion in annual sales. Founded in 2013 by Pat Vihtelic, Home Chef merged with Kroger in 2018. Since then, the companies have worked together to advance the availability of mealtime shortcuts and solutions. Home Chef offers more than 500 products across a variety of categories, including meal kits, heat-and-eat meals, ready-to-eat products, and seasonal meals, among others.

Net income at Kroger in the third quarter ended Nov. 6 was $483 million, equal to 64¢ per share on the common stock, down 23% from $631 million, or 81¢ per share, in the same period a year ago.

Sales increased 7.2% to $31.86 billion from $29.72 billion.

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