retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece from Forbes about how Walmart is running commercials challenging shoppers to compare its grocery prices to those of its competitors, a reflection of the retailer's increased emphasis on food as an engine of growth.

Kroger, the story says, believes it has the strategic approach that can stall Walmart's engine, or at least prevent it from revving too high.

"Key to Kroger’s strategy," Forbes writes, "is its 'Customer 1st' approach, which stresses increased customer loyalty combined with cost controls. For example, it is using new technology in its pharmacies to better manage workflow. It is launching a new house brand line of single-serve coffee pods. It is reducing energy consumption, which it has cut by 31% since 2000.

"Also, customers told Kroger they don’t like waiting in line, something Kroger apparently did not already know. So Kroger spent several years addressing that problem and now says it has successfully cut customer wait time at checkout from 4 minutes to 30 seconds.

"And it has beefed up the high-growth category of Yogurt. Kroger President W. Rodney McMullen told analysts that Kroger has added 15 new varieties including Blueberry Pomegranate and Caramel Spice Cake. 'And I can tell you on the new yogurt flavors, they taste great, and I’ve tried over half of them already'."
KC's View:
I like the idea of a food industry executive who actually tries the food. And I'll betcha this isn't as common as a lot of people might think.