The Kroger Co. ( KR Quick Quote KR - Free Report) , which operates in the thin-margin grocery industry, has been undergoing a complete makeover not only with respect to products but also in terms of the way consumers prefer shopping grocery. This Cincinnati, OH-based company has been making significant investments to enhance product freshness and quality as well as expand digital capabilities and payment solutions. Impressively, management remains committed to double digital sales by 2023. Let’s Delve Deeper
Kroger has been adding new products to its portfolio and eyeing technological expansion. Its acquisition of meal kit company Home Chef and partnership with British online grocery delivery firm Ocado reinforces its position in the online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery space.
We note that Kroger has been introducing new items under its “Our Brands” portfolio — launched 142 new items during the second quarter of fiscal 2021. It has also collaborated with ghost kitchen partner Kitchen United to provide consumers on-demand meal pickup and delivery from popular restaurants.
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Kroger is furthering its partnership with Instacart by launching the new ‘Kroger Delivery Now’ service that will provide customers with food and household staples in 30 minutes. It has launched sushi delivery pilot with DoorDash in three geographies. Moreover, it has introduced Kroger Delivery Savings Pass in Florida, offering customers unlimited delivery for $79 annually.
Without doubt, Kroger’s digital business remains one of its key growth drivers. Customers have been opting e-commerce solutions for their grocery and other household essentials. Considering the current scenario, the company has been focusing on no-contact delivery option, low-contact pickup service and ship-to-home orders. It expanded to 2,239 Pickup locations and 2,546 Delivery locations. Moreover, it is expanding contactless payment solutions like Kroger Pay or “Scan, Bag, Go”. Digital sales surged 114% during the second quarter, on a two-year stacked basis. We note that Kroger added more than 340,000 new customers to its digital platforms during the quarter. Wrapping Up
We believe that Kroger’s focus on fresh offerings, technology and process improvements to lower costs, seamless digital ecosystem and margin-rich alternative profit business should continue contributing toward growth.
Although the company continues to expect a decline in identical sales; we note that on a two-year stacked basis, its identical sales projection suggests 12.6-13.1% growth for fiscal 2021. Management expects full-year adjusted earnings per share in the range of $3.25 to $3.35, indicating a two-year CAGR of 22-24%. Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company have rallied 28.5% so far this year compared with the industry’s growth of 1.7%. 3 More Stocks You May Bet On BJ's Wholesale Club ( BJ Quick Quote BJ - Free Report) has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 25.6%, on average. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Walmart ( WMT Quick Quote WMT - Free Report) has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 14.3%, on average. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Costco ( COST Quick Quote COST - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.6%. It presently carries a Zacks Rank #2.