Kroger envisions the future of private brands

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Kroger envisions the future of private brands

By Lawrence Aylward - 11/08/2017
An artist's rendering of Kroger's Kitchen 1883

What’s next for The Kroger Co.? An automobile line called Kroger Kars?

I wouldn’t put it past the Cincinnati-based grocer, which has been pulling out all the stops this year to differentiate itself from its competition, namely Amazon. And Kroger is using its robust private brands, which it calls Our Brands, to gain exclusivity.

Last week, Kroger announced it would introduce a “modern lifestyle” apparel brand next fall to 300 of its stores across the country, including Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace stores. Kroger said the line is “built from the ground up to engage consumers in a new way.” It will feature clothes for children, young men, juniors, men and women.

"This new brand gives Kroger a chance to inspire and connect with our customers, offering effortless style every day — from elevated basics to fashionable highlights," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior vice president of merchandising. "This new offering is on-trend, convenient and right in line with our customers’ needs."

Earlier this week, Kroger opened its first restaurant, Kitchen 1883, adjacent to its new supermarket in Union, Ky. The restaurant, which has a separate entrance from the store, is serving “new American comfort food,” according to Kroger, which described Kitchen 1883 as a melting pot of American and international flavors. The restaurant features a made-from-scratch menu, hand-crafted cocktails and a community-centered atmosphere, said Daniel Hammer, Kroger’s vice president of culinary development and new business.

The restaurant and the clothing line are also new twists on private brands for Kroger, which is extending itself to offer consumers more than just consumer packaged goods.

Kroger isn’t the only traditional grocer trying new things with private brands as the anchor. So are several other large and regional grocery chains, including Hy-Vee and H-E-B. They see the future of grocery — somewhat dictated by Amazon — and it is about being a one-stop shop for many needs, not just frozen pizzas and canned goods. For Kroger, it’s about going there to shop for food and clothes and to have dinner on a Saturday night. It’s also about gaining loyalty by offering exclusivity.

Kroger Kars might be a reach, but who knows?

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