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Kroger steps up fight against opioid epidemic

BY Michael Johnsen

Kroger Pharmacy is taking several steps as part of a comprehensive commitment to help communities combat the nationwide opioid epidemic, the Cincinnati grocer announced Monday. The efforts follow Surgeon General Jerome Adams issuing a general advisory on naloxone and opioid overdose encouraging the use of the overdose-reversal drug that has become a mainstay behind pharmacy counters nationwide.

“We applaud the Surgeon General’s advisory on naloxone and opioid overdose, knowing the epidemic continues to devastate communities across our country. A person loses their life from an opioid overdose every 12.5 minutes,” Colleen Lindholz, Kroger’s president of pharmacy and the Little Clinic, said. “We know that pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals to the public and play a vital role in providing access to the life-saving drug naloxone.”

As part of its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, Kroger currently stocks naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug, in its 2,300 pharmacies across 35 states and the District of Columbia with more than 1,900 of those locations dispensing naloxone without a prescription.

The company also announced plans to host drug take-back events at store locations across the country on April 28, in partnership with Cardinal Health and coinciding with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Kroger also is partnering with EVERFI and Cardinal Health’s Generation Rx to support drug prevention programs for high school students in certain markets.

“Every day in our stores and pharmacies, in large ways and small, Kroger is committed to being a part of the solution and helping people live healthier lives,” Lindholz said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States struggle with an opioid-use disorder and rates of opioid overdose deaths are rapidly increasing.

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Giant Food increases store presence across home state

BY Michael Johnsen

Giant Food Stores is making a big push in its home state. The Ahold Delhaize USA banner will be opening six new stores from the ground up in Pennsylvania, alongside the opening of five new fuel stations and remodeling two stores as part of a $70 million capital investment over the next two years, the Carlisle, Pa.-based grocer announced Tuesday.

As part of its growth strategy, Giant Food plans to enter the East Stroudsburg, Pa. and Walnutport, Pa. communities for the first time.

“We are positioning the company for long-term growth, and we are excited to grow our presence within East Stroudsburg and Walnutport to better serve the families in those communities,” Nicholas Bertram, Giant Food president, said. “This year Giant is celebrating our founding in Pennsylvania 95 years ago, so we’re especially proud to make these new investments in our home state.”

The East Stroudsburg store and the Walnutport store are both anticipated to open in 2019 and both will include new fuel stations, the company said.

The other four new stores include one in Feasterville-Trevose, Pa. that’s slated to open in the summer of 2018; one in State College, Pa. with an anticipated opening date in late 2018/early 2019; one in Warrington, Pa. that will open early 2019; and one in Broomhall, Pa., that will open late 2019. Each of these four stores will replace a nearby location.

When the Shrewsbury, Pa. and West Chester, Pa. remodels are completed later this year, customers will be able to take advantage of key benefits, which include a broader variety and assortment that is relevant to customers in each store, such as more local products, a deeper assortment of natural and organic selections and healthier snack options.

This investment announcement follows the February completion of a new Peapod wareroom opened in partnership with Giant in North Coventry, Pa. The wareroom opening was in response to fast-growing delivery and pickup demand, and it will enable Peapod and Giant to serve up to 25% more shoppers in the greater Philadelphia area, the company said, adding that Peapod has experienced double-digit growth in the Philadelphia region for the last three consecutive years.

Additionally, the company said these efforts are in addition to the ongoing investments in Beer & Wine Eateries that Giant began in 2011 and now number 59 in Pennsylvania.

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Kroger honored with Energy Star Partner of the Year Award

BY Marianne Wilson

Kroger is on track for big savings in energy use.

The supermarket giant has received the 2018 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for its prioritization of Energy Star best practices in its energy management strategy and for its continued commitment to energy reduction. Kroger’s long-term goal is to reduce cumulative energy consumption — in the form of electricity — in its stores by 40% by 2020, as the chain outlined in its sustainability report.

Kroger has earned more Energy Star building certifications than any other commercial entity by certifying 320 grocery stores in 2017, bringing the total number of stores certified to 793 since 2011. The company has saved 48.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity by installing more than 3.8 million LED lamps.

“Kroger uses the EPA’s Energy Star program to track and assess energy consumption across our retail locations,” said Keith Oliver, Kroger’s VP of facility engineering. Oliver. “We benchmark building energy performance, assess energy management goals over time, and identify strategic opportunities for savings.”

Beyond its retail operations, Kroger’s logistics team continues to track its “ton miles per gallon” (TMPG) and look to new technologies to increase delivery and operational efficiencies. Kroger has committed to adding Tesla Semi-electric trucks to its distribution fleet, which require lower energy cost per mile in comparison to conventional diesel tractors.

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