To arm itself against competition from the merged Whole Foods/Amazon behemoth, Kroger has reshaped its strategy to make it leaner and more accessible, moves that will have a big impact on how you shop. There are plenty of challengers who’d like a piece of your food budget, but Kroger still dominates the Lexington grocery market.
In October, the Cincinnati-based grocery chain launched Restock Kroger. “We understand that today’s marketplace is shifting rapidly,” said CEO Rodney McMullen. “We have the scale, the data, physical assets and human connections to win. Combining our food expertise and data analytics uniquely positions Kroger to create new and highly relevant customer experiences, delivered both digitally and in stores.”
Going after Aldi. Ruler Foods, a small division of Kroger, is getting a fresh look. Two new stores in Illinois have opened with a new floor plan and logo that could become a pilot for the Ruler Foods stores, including the one in Cynthiana. Ruler has a more “value-oriented” vibe, carrying mostly Kroger store brands. The stores use a kind of shelving strategy that uses whole opened boxes rather than individually stocked items. That cuts down on stocking time. Expect to see this seeping into your regular Kroger stores, too.
Ruler stores also offer only the most popular varieties rather than an entire line, said Ken McClure, spokesman for Ruler Foods. “Instead of 18 flavors of jam, you’ll have the six best selling.” That maximizes what the store has in-stock: fewer unpopular leftover flavors.
The test stores also have a new focus on fresh produce, which is now front and center, with greater selection and pricing, McClure said. “These new stores have been moved to these new formats as a test, and determine if that’s the direction we want to take.”