Panic buying, stockpiling and shopping to be prepared for stay-at-home safety during the coronavirus pandemic fueled a 30% increase in supermarket sales at Kroger for the month of March.
The retailer provided an update on sales April 1, pointing out that the majority of the increase in online and in-store sales occurred during the middle of the month when demand was at its highest. Sales slowed toward the end of the month but were still higher than normal.
The 30% March sales increase was calculated without fuel sales and followed on the heels of a February that also saw strong sales triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are seeing strong sales and are at the same time investing in our business to support our customers and associates through the current uncertainty," said Gary Millerchip, Kroger's chief financial officer.
Kroger has been instituting several measures to recognize the employees working at the stores during this heightened time. The company invested in special pay above hourly regular wages for frontline employees, expanded paid sick leave, hired more associates to help with stocking and sanitizing, and investing in more employees and measures in the distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.
Follow all of the various steps retailers are taking during COVID-19 at this Store Brands’ retailer roundup.
Looking ahead, the retailer said it will continue to invest to help associates throughout the pandemic and delay certain cost-saving initiatives to put all resources toward areas where they’re most needed now during the pandemic. These moves will have an impact on the company’s overall sales for the year, as will continuing shifts in shopper behavior and buying and eating more at home.
"Kroger's most urgent priority is to provide a safe environment for associates and customers, with open stores, comprehensive digital solutions and an efficiently-operating supply chain, so that our communities have access to fresh, affordable food and essentials," said Rodney McMullen, chairman and chief executive officer, Kroger. "We are so proud of our dedicated associates who are on the front lines serving our customers when they need us most. A huge thank you to all of our associates, whose efforts are nothing short of heroic."