The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is planning to expand. CNBC’s Sara Eisen announced that the US’s largest grocery store chain is planning to add about 20,000 jobs. This news comes in an economic climate which has been disappointing when it comes to job creation.
This is not the first time The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) has done such a surprising move. In fact, most analysts had very small hope for the retail business and expected Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to eclipse the largest grocery chain in US. Kroger actually went on to turn the tables on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT).
“BMO Capital actually upgraded The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) in the middle of July and one of the key reasons cited in that, was that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is actually less of a threat from a grocery store perspective as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) shifts to the neighbourhood stores instead of the super centres and from the city centre and as population shifts from the rural areas where Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has a stronghold,” said Eisen while reporting on the changing fortunes of the two companies.
The company’s identical supermarket sales went up by a substantial 4.6% last quarter as compared to the same quarter a year before. The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR)’s stock is up 30% this year. Moreover, the company has been an active participant on the acquisition market. The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) bought Vitacost.com Inc (NASDAQ:VITC), an online seller of vitamins and other health-related products earlier this year and also Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc (NYSE:HTSI).
With these kind of statistics backing The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), there can be no doubt of the strong consumer confidence that the brand enjoys. Moreover, with its acquisitions, it is continuing to diversify its target market, especially as it stepped into Internet retailing with Vitacost.com.