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Kroger adds 7,000 employees to work force in past year

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Thursday announced that its total active work force has grown by more than 7,000 during fiscal year 2013. Approximately 90% of the new jobs are in the company’s supermarket divisions.

"Our associates have the extraordinary opportunity to make a difference for the more than eight million customers who visit our stores each day," stated Katy Barclay, Kroger SVP human resources. "We are proud that Kroger’s growth has created 40,000 new American jobs during the last six years. New jobs mean new opportunities for our associates and greater economic impact in the local communities we serve."

Over the last six years, Kroger has created more than 40,000 new jobs. This figure does not include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, nor does it include Harris Teeter’s approximately 25,000 associates who recently joined the Kroger family. When combined, Kroger today employs more than 375,000 associates.

Kroger has hired 22,456 veterans since 2009. In addition, Kroger is proud to have helped the "100,000 Jobs Mission" surpass its original goal in January, seven years early. The "100,000 Jobs Mission" is a coalition of more than 130 companies with the common goal of hiring more than 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020.

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Ahold preparing major Peapod push into New York market

BY Michael Johnsen

ZAANDAM, The Netherlands — Ahold announced plans to significantly expand its Peapod presence in the U.S. market when announcing fourth-quarter results on Thursday. "Peapod is expected to double its capacity in the U.S. in 2014," Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, told analysts. 

"We’re planning to open a semi-automated New Jersey warehouse during this summer of 300,000 square feet — clearly focusing on the demands of the New York City market," Boer said. As many as 21 million people live within New York City’s boundaries, Boer said, "so enormous opportunity for us to move in that market — we’re already there, but to accelerate that growth."

Boer reported that Peapod would also concentrate on expanding its number of pick-up points by 200 by the end of the year. 

Furthering its commitment to online strategies, Ahold recently opened a state-of-the-art digital innovation lab in Chicago, Boer said. "[This] allows us to attract top talent to help us shape the future."

Ahold USA on Thursday reported net sales of $6 billion, down 2.1%. Identical sales dropped 2.1% (2% excluding gasoline) reflecting the sales effect of Hurricane Sandy last year and a challenging fourth quarter, the company stated. For the full year, net sales were $26.1 billion, up 1.1%. Identical sales were up 0.2% (0.3% excluding gasoline). 

“In 2013, we continued to implement our Reshaping Retail strategy, leveraging changing consumer needs and pursuing growth opportunities in both existing and new markets," Boer stated. "We also continued to rapidly expand our online businesses, achieving strong double-digit sales growth," he said. “While we expect economic conditions to gradually improve, we remain cautious in our outlook for the food retail sector in 2014. Our ongoing focus on expanding our online businesses is expected to continue to result in strong sales growth. We will continue to look for ways to simplify our business in order to reduce costs so that we can invest in our value proposition and offer customers a better shopping experience every day.”

 

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Deutsche Bank: Kroger in the running for Safeway in addition to Cerberus

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Deutsche Bank on Thursday speculated that either Cerberus or Kroger could acquire Safeway. 

The firm noted that divestitures in a Kroger acquisition would exceed those in a Cerberus buyout.  

A Bloomberg report published last week suggested Cerberus was the lead bidder for Safeway’s operations. 

"While other private-equity firms also have expressed interest in buying the second-largest grocery chain in the U.S., they are more interested in cherry-picking assets, people familiar with the situation have said," Bloomberg reported. "Safeway is not interested in selling off pieces and would prefer to be sold in its entirety, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private."

 

 

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