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British-based gas station operator, Euro Garages is to acquire the convenience retailing operations of major US grocery retailer Kroger, in a deal worth $2.15bn. 

The sale by Kroger completes a significant step in its new strategic plan to focus future development in the online channel.  For Euro Garages the acquisition represents a big first step into the US, and further move in the rapid international expansion of its fuel and convenience retailing interests, which has already taken it into the French, Italian, German, Belgian and Dutch markets.

Source: Euro Garages

Adds 762 stores with sales of $1.4bn

Kroger's convenience store network operates across 18 US states, and trades under a variety of banners such as Loaf'N Jug, Tom Thumb, Quik Stop and Turkey Hill.  As part of the transaction Euro Garages will establish its North American headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio and will retain the operation's established management, with stores continuing to trade under their existing identities.

Will boost Euro Garages' global turnover to £18.5bn

The inclusion of the Kroger convenience portfolio will expand Euro Garages' global network of fuel retailing sites to some 4,400 stores by the end of 2018; as it completes both this deal and the the transfer of 1,000 locations in Germany from Esso.

Opportunities for more US acquisitions

The US convenience retailing market remains notably fragmented, despite the presence of some giants such as 7-Eleven.  Going forward, once established, Euro Garages will have scope to add further scale to its US business with acquisitions amongst the numerous local and regional chains that remain. 

Mohsin Issa, founder and joint CEO of Euro Garages commented:

'This is an exciting time for EG Group ...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 .. to deliver a comprehensive retail offer. ... We aim to create a retail environment which delivers convenience, provides value and serves as a retail destination offering excellent welfare to motorists.'

 

 

 

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In the run-up to the Super Bowl, we review the promotional campaigns of grocery retailers across various channels in the US.

The trading opportunity

For many grocery retailers in the US, Sunday is the busiest trading day of the week during the regular season. Building on this, the Super Bowl is a major sales event, with most focusing on the snacking and party-food opportunity. This extends across both fresh, dry grocery and frozen categories, with deli platters, chicken wings and pizzas featured within most retailers.

Plans aligned with strategy

While there is a significant amount of consistency across the various retailers’ plans, there is also close alignment with the broader strategy of each operator. Within the major retailers, Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, the focus is on optimising their broader capabilities, tapping into their strengths in other areas of their operations. Retailers such as Earth Fare and Lucky’s Market, which operate with a fresh-led strategy, maintain this approach within their Super Bowl plans. For the hard discount operators, it’s all about price.

The local factor

With the Super Bowl being held in Minneapolis this year, it provides an opportunity for locally-based operators to increase their level of participation. Target is involved in several initiatives, including designing the volunteer uniforms, producing a limited-edition clothing range and setting up the ‘Bullseye Lodge’, a Minnesota-inspired space for activities and snacks.

The major retailers

Source: Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons

The fresh specialists

Source: Earth Fare, Lucky’s Market, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market

The hard discounters

Source: Aldi, Lidl, Save-A-Lot

The locally based

Source: Target, Cub Foods, Lunds & Byerlys

Learn more about trends in the US market by signing up to our free newsletter here 

Stewart Samuel, Program Director, IGD Canada: based in Canada, Stewart heads up all of IGD's research and coverage on the US market. He is also responsible for shaping IGD's research program across North America. Contact Stewart at stewart.samuel@igd.com for further insight on the region's markets, channels and retailers. Follow Stewart on Twitter: @Stewart_IGD

As customers increasingly look for seamless shopping experiences, Kroger will be expanding its shopping technology, Scan, Bag, Go to 400 stores by the end of 2018.

Innovative technology

The Scan, Bag, Go technology works by allowing customers to use a wireless scanner or an app on their phone to scan products as they shop. The initiative has been trialled in 20 stores and currently requires customers to go to a self checkout area to pay for their shopping. However customers will soon be able to pay directly through the app, making the whole experience quicker and easier. After the success of the initial trial, Kroger now plans to roll out the technology to around 400 stores as part of its Restock Kroger strategic plan. Scan, Bag, Go also helps to create a personalised shopping experience for customers, allowing them to view and download digital coupons as they shop, as well as view the current sales ad through the app.

Source: IGD Research

Creating a seamless shopping experience

Redefining the food and grocery customer experience is one of the four pillars of Kroger's strategic plan and technology plays a key role in this. Allowing customers to shop in the way which is most convenient to them is something Kroger is striving to do through its numerous shopping options. These include online ordering, ClickList, home delivery in select cities and traditional checkout experiences.

Shaping the future of grocery shopping

Currently both Kroger and Walmart are playing a large part in advancing the seamless shopping experience across the US. Walmart has also introduced Scan & Go technology which works through a handheld scanner or an app on shoppers' phones. Other retailers are starting to experiment in this space too, with Woodman's Food Market's in Wisconsin launching a pilot program that includes a 'mobile shopper' device, similar to the handheld scanners used by Kroger and Walmart, as well as rapid checkout lanes. Employee owned Woodman's has a concentrated presence, giving it the potential to innovate more flexibly and respond quicker than the larger retailers. Some retailers are using technology partnerships to introduce new solutions. Fairway Market in New York has chosen FutureProof Retail to provide an app which will allow customers to scan and pay for items without needing to queue. We expect to see further developments in this space as retailers continually look for ways to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible.

Learn more about Kroger and the leading retail trends by signing up to our free newsletter here 

Presentations

14/02/2018
An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Kroger.
23/01/2018
As Seattle becomes a key destination for an increasing number of food and grocery suppliers, we've identified 15 great stores to visit in the city. These include innovative concepts such as Amazon Go and Starbucks Roastery, and inspirational independent operators, including PCC Community Markets and Metropolitan Market.
22/01/2018
As food-to-go becomes an increasingly important route to growth, we assess the key trends that will shape the development in the year ahead.
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Key presentations

We review Kroger’s retail outlook over the next five years and explore its priorities.

This in-depth guide to the USA explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Kroger.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

See all the latest retail news, store visits, downloadable presentations and photos together in one place.