Last updated on September 5th, 2012 at 02:57 pm
Nov. 12 • Houston Racquet Club • Houston, Texas
Kroger is aggressively pursuing growth and remodel improvements in the Southwest Kroger Marketing Area (KMA), which encompasses Texas and Louisiana.
Bill Breetz, president of the Southwest division, outlined Kroger’s work this year and its plans for the future at a breakfast meeting of the Houston Grocery Manufacturers Representative Association (HGMRA) on Nov. 12. Four new stores and a significant number of remodels are planned for 2011, Breetz said.
Kroger first came to Houston in 1955 when it acquired the Henke & Pillot grocery chain. In 1958 it entered the Dallas-Fort Worth market when it acquired Wyatt Food Stores. Since then, the division has grown to 209 stores, including four new Marketplace concept stores.
Jayne Homco, VP of merchandising for Kroger SW, took the group through the company’s partnership with Shell Oil Co. Customers can save 10 cents per gallon using the Kroger Plus Card at more than 1,000 participating Shell stations in Texas as well as at Kroger Fuel Centers. Customers earn the fuel rewards with grocery purchases, select gift card buys and pharmacy prescriptions.
Kroger continues to grow even in a tough economic and competitive market with more unique households shopping at and becoming “loyal” to Kroger. Homco illustrated that point with market data and also showed that shoppers are making more visits to the store but spending slightly less per trip.
Kroger continues to use dunnhumby and direct mail programs to grow its customer base, Homco said. In 2010, more than 100 direct targeted mail events were executed in the Southwest Kroger Marketing Area.
The group then heard from Michael Marx, VP of operations, whose theme was “Win the Customer!” by reducing out-of-stocks. Kroger tracks sales hour-by-hour and calculates that out-of-stocks could be costing the company significant sales potential. Marx targets reducing this loss by deploying more merchandisers during prime time, using computer efficiencies to make right-sized orders, keeping the backroom organized and creating a fast mover section. Making this all work requires improved communication with store teams, Marx said, and that is a big priority for the company.
The HGMRA raises money to provide scholarships for Houston area students interested in a career in the food industry. Founded in 1972, the HGMRA has awarded scholarships to 949 students. Money is raised through an annual golf tournament and a series of breakfasts and lunches featuring Houston area food industry leaders. This past year featured Scott McClelland, president of HEB’s Houston and Central Market Division; Tom Schwilke, Safeway Randall’s division head; Lewis Katapodis, Fiesta Mart CEO and president; and Ross Lewis, president of Food Town.