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Kroger sells c-store unit to U.K. retailer

BY Michael Johnsen

Kroger on Monday inked a deal with EG Group, a privately-held petrol forecourt c-store retailer based in Blackburn, England, on the sale of Kroger’s c-store business unit for $2.2 billion. The companies expect to close the transaction during the first quarter of Kroger’s fiscal year.

As part of the agreement, EG Group will establish their North American headquarters in Kroger’s hometown market Cincinnati and continue to operate stores under their established banner names, which include Turkey Hill, Tom Thumb and Quik Stop.

“Our convenience store business has been a part of our company for many years. We want to thank our management team and associates for their enduring commitment to our customers, and for the contributions they have made to build our supermarket fuel business,” said Mike Schlotman, Kroger executive vice president and CFO. “As part of our regular review of assets, it has become clear that our strong convenience store business unit will better meet its full potential outside of our business.”

“This is an exciting time for EG Group, the entry into the U.S. market presents a fantastic opportunity to deliver a successful retail offer to consumers across the various states,” Mohsin Issa, EG Group founder and co-CEO, said. “We have had much success across Europe and we firmly believe the Kroger assets present a fantastic foundation to overlay our retail experience and know-how in the US. We are committed to investing in the Kroger network, partnering with leading retail brands and working with the exceptional management team and associates transferring across to deliver a comprehensive retail offer.”

Kroger’s convenience store business operates in 18 states. It includes 66 franchise operations. The stores employ 11,000 associates and operate under the following banner names: Turkey Hill, Loaf ‘N Jug, Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb and Quik Stop. Kroger’s convenience store business generated revenue of $4 billion, including selling 1.2 billion gallons of fuel, in 2016.

Kroger announced in October 2017 its intention to explore strategic alternatives for its convenience store business, including a potential sale, in conjunction with Restock Kroger.

Kroger plans to use net proceeds from the sale to repurchase shares and to lower its net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio.

Kroger’s supermarket fuel centers and its Turkey Hill Dairy are not included in the sale.

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Food Lion intros new shopper loyalty program

BY Michael Johnsen

Following successful tests last year, Food Lion has launched the Shop & Earn MVP Customer Loyalty Program across its 10-state market in the U.S., providing customers with a new way to significantly increase their savings through personalized offers on products and categories they already buy. An enhancement to the popular MVP Customer Rewards Program, Shop & Earn lets shoppers easily save more every month, in addition to their MVP savings and coupons.

“Shop & Earn is a unique loyalty program that puts our customers in charge of their savings,” said Deborah Sabo, senior vice president marketing, Food Lion. “The more our customers shop, the more they will save. Offers are targeted to customers based on their specific purchases, fueling a program with nearly endless savings opportunities.”

The Shop & Earn rollout comes after successful pilots last year in the Raleigh and Greensboro markets in North Carolina.

With Shop & Earn, new offers will be made available the first of each month. Customers can begin earning rewards as soon as their account is activated and will have until the last day of the month to earn rewards. These rewards may be redeemed until the end of the following month.

To celebrate the program’s launch, Food Lion Feeds is partnering with Feeding America to donate one meal to local food banks for each Shop & Earn activation, up to 1 million meals, throughout February.

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Rexall renews commitment to OneWalk to Conquer Cancer

BY Michael Johnsen

Rexall renewed its partnership with OneWalk to Conquer Cancer in commemorating World Cancer Day on Feb. 4. The partnership benefits Princess Margaret Cancer Centre by encouraging the public to register for the 2018 event.

“We are grateful for this ongoing partnership between Rexall and The Princess Margaret, which will continue to draw thousands of like-minded individuals from across Canada to participate in OneWalk, Sept. 7 to 8,” Michael Burns, CEO and president of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, said. “Rexall became the title sponsor of marathon event in 2016 and continues to support the event’s success and long-standing impact. In 2017, Team Rexall raised more than $95,000 for The Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world. Alongside Rexall, the OneWalk community is preparing for another life-changing journey throughout Toronto this summer, raising funds that allow The Princess Margaret to invest in transformational cancer research programs.”

“We are honored to once again be the title sponsor for this year’s OneWalk because we believe in The Princess Margaret and the innovative treatment and care they provide,” Beth Newlands Campbell, president of the Toronoto-based Rexall Pharmacy Group said. “Whether it’s one of our patients or one of our own employees, the Rexall family has been touched by cancer. Rexall employees are eager to participate in OneWalk and we invite everyone to join us and walk together to help make a difference for Canadians.”

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