When Barney Kroger invested $372 (his life savings) to open a grocery store in Cincinnati, he did so with a simple motto: “Be particular. Never sell anything you would not want yourself.”
- Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
- Founding year: 1883
- Number of locations as of January 2011:
- 2,458 supermarkets and multi-department stores, 786 convenience stores, 361 fine jewelry stores, 1,014 supermarket fuel centers, and 40 food processing plants
- Brands: More than two-dozen, including Kroger, Dillons, Food 4 Less, and Fred Meyer
- >Q4 FY 2010 sales: $19.9 billion compared with $18.6 billion for Q4 FY 2009
When Barney Kroger invested $372 (his life savings) to open a grocery store in Cincinnati, he did so with a simple motto: “Be particular. Never sell anything you would not want yourself.” Today, The Kroger Company Kroger ranks as one of the nation’s largest retailers, complete with a burgeoning 40 food processing plant-manufacturing business that produces 14,400 private-label items.
Key to the retailer’s growth is its focus on M&A, including the 1983 merger with Dillon Companies. In 1999, its merger with Fred Meyer gave the supermarket chain the broadest geographic coverage and widest variety of formats in the food retailing industry. The ’99 merger also gave Kroger economies of scale that enabled it to excel in purchasing, manufacturing, information systems, and logistics.
But the basic principles that Mr. Kroger put in place so many years ago—service, selection, and value—are the ones that continue to lead the company today.
Said David Dillon, chairman and CEO: “We attribute our success to our people, our 334,000 associates who focus on our customers every day. In addition to our people, we believe Kroger’s competitive strengths include our geographic diversity, the leverage of our size, our strong corporate brands program along with offering the customer national brands, and our customer first strategy. Our customer first strategy continues to deliver results through improvements in all four key areas we target: our people, our products, the overall shopping experience in our stores, and prices. As a result, the total number of families we serve continues to grow and our most loyal customers are buying more with us.”