So a year ago Kroger was a Wall Street darling and now they are in denial?Do they have an organic growth problem? Yes, that has been clear for the last decade, ergo their decision to become more acquisitive. And they continue to generate profits and cash flow. They are growing online business, albeit mostly click and collect. Delivery, which is a small fraction of online grocery, is mostly through third parties but they are testing their own. No one has figured out grocery delivery, including Amazon.Ask any landlord if they have any qualms renting space to Kroger. My only concern would be if Kroger management actually takes this type of criticism seriously.
Trying to find these types of products in a traditional grocery store is like trying to find buried treasure, so anything that simplifies the process is welcome for those concerned about sugar, gluten, etc. The only thing Raley's has to to do is clearly communicate with the shopper that the labels are positive, not negative -- these are the products you want.
The customer base for both of these businesses is literally dying. A merger/consolidation in a declining business makes sense -- add some scale, cut costs, maybe generate a few top-line synergies between the two channels. But this should be just the first step. Next they have to find a way to engage a new, younger (Millennial) customer, which will hinge on the ability to transition from cable TV to the phone and tablet.
Publix's market share is certainly vulnerable. Yes, they have a good format and solid merchandising. However, most customers I've spoken with still complain about their pricing and would easily shop a lower-price alternative -- assuming a similar quality store and product -- if they had a chance. Perhaps Albertsons/Safeway can find a way to do this, or maybe Kroger finally makes a move.