Big Brand Growth Plans for Kroger

NEW YORK–The Kroger Co. plans to invest about $2 billion in upgrades, cost-saving measures, sales opportunities, and overall brand expansion this year. The number one supermarket chain in the U.S. already has allocated $100 million next year to extend its Fred Meyer and Food 4 Less banners into new markets, according to Joseph Pichler, chairman and CEO.

Speaking before shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday, Pichler said that he anticipates up to 170 Kroger stores nationwide will sell gasoline by year’s end; that the Cincinnati-based company will add to the more than 1,600 pharmacies currently located in Kroger-owned stores; that Kroger will continue to grow its 725 natural/organic foods sections, including its more than 100 Nature’s Market “store within a store formats,”; and that Kroger’s sales of private label brands, which currently make up more than 25 percent of grocery sales company-wide, will continue to increase.