Corporate Profiles - 2021 - 94

COMPANY OVERVIEW
Kroger Co.
T
Retailer continues to benefit from increase in at-home eating
he Kroger Co.,
Cincinnati, like many
other retailers, continued to benefit from
more consumers eating at home as the
COVID-19 pandemic dragged on. While its fiscal
2021 performance eased compared to the
height of pandemic lockdowns during the previous
year, Kroger management said it sees a
lasting benefit from the pandemic-induced
trends that have emerged.
Net income for the first half of fiscal 2021,
ended Aug. 14, was $607 million, equal to
80ยข per share on the common stock, a decline
when compared with the same period of the
year prior when the retailer earned $2 billion,
or $2.58 per share.
Sales for the period ticked up slightly to
$72.9 billion from $72 billion the year before.
Compared to 2019, when the retailer generated
first-half revenues of $65 billion, sales
were up significantly.
The pandemic's impact has had a substantial
impact on the development of Kroger's ecommerce
business, which had a sales increase
of 114% when compared with 2019, according
to the company.
" We remain on track with our plans to double
our digital business by 2023 and would
expect continued investments in the customer
experience, scaling of new fulfillment centers
and several new innovations that we will announce
throughout the year to drive future
growth, " said Gary Millerchip, chief financial
officer, during a Sept. 10 conference call to discuss
the first-half results.
William Rodney McMullen, chairman and
chief executive officer, said Kroger has seen
consumer shopping preferences shift during
2021. Early in the year more people were shopping
in-store, but as the Delta variant spread
many consumers returned to online ordering.
" As we look ahead, our seamless ecosystem
will remain a competitive advantage as we offer
what customers need and want in a way that fits
into their life, whether it's shopping in our stores,
picking it up at our stores or getting it delivered
or shipped directly to their homes, " he said.
One trend he sees continuing is consumers
eating at home.
" If you look at all of our research on people
eating at home, customers are telling us they
enjoy eating at home and eating with their
families, which we believe is structural and
sustainable, " Mr. McMullen said. " They're also
telling us that eating at home, they're able to
eat healthier, stretch their budget significantly
further because it's not nearly as expensive as
eating in a restaurant. "
To improve its ability to serve the increased
demand for eating at home, Kroger made several
investments during the year. Phoenix, for
example, will be the location for the company's
newest customer fulfillment center through its
partnership with Ocado.
Kroger also announced a partnership with
Kitchen United to locate ghost kitchens inside
of Kroger stores. Participating Kroger locations
will feature up to six local, regional or
national restaurant brands, according to the
company.
" Our customers' appetite for fresh, on-demand
meals continues to accelerate, and we
remain focused on offering new and innovative
products that provide anything, anytime,
anywhere, " said Dan De La Rosa, group vice
president of fresh merchandising at Kroger.
The first ghost kitchen was expected to open
in the fall of 2021 in Los Angeles. CP
Chief executive officer -
William Rodney McMullen
Kroger net earnings
(fiscal years ended in January)
Kroger net sales
(fiscal years ended in January)
Kroger share price
per share
$3,110
$1,659
$2,585
$121,852
2019
2020
2021
2019
$122,286
2020
$132,498
2021
$26
$32
$38
$44
$50
Oct.
2020
Dec.
Feb.
2021
Apr.
June
Aug.
94 \ October 2021
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Corporate Profiles - 2021

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