Kroger Co. The
NEWS AND UPDATES
UppersExtensive job training;Stock options;Casual dress code
DownersLong work days for store managers;Low pay;Irregular hours
ABOUT THIS COMPANY:Kroger's grocery list
The Kroger Company is one of the largest grocery store chains in the U.S., and the No.-1 "pure" grocery chain in the country. The company operates more than 3,800 stores in 32 states under about two dozen banners, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, King Soopers and City Market. Kroger offers customers much more than groceries. In many of its supermarkets, shoppers can fill a prescription at an in-store pharmacy, renew a driver's license and do their banking. In 14 states, customers can even fill up their gas tanks at one of Kroger's service stations. At its multi-department stores (homily dubbed Fred Meyer and Fry's Marketplace), customers can also shop for apparel and general merchandise.
The chain includes 2,535 supermarkets in 32 states; 100 grocery stores through its Dillon Companies subsidiary; 800 convenience stores under names like Quik Stop and Kwik Shop; more than 125 Fred Meyer superstores, which offer groceries, jewelry and miscellaneous items; and 41 manufacturing plants. For the fiscal year 2003, Kroger racked up sales of $53.8 billion.
From tea, to groceries, to supermarkets
Barney Kroger started the Great Western Tea Company in Cincinnati in 1883. After opening 40 stores and expanding into Kentucky, the company changed its name to Kroger Grocery and Baking Company in 1902. Four decades later, after an extended period of growth, the name was changed again to The Kroger Company. By 1952, annual sales had topped $1 billion. In 1972, Kroger opened its first superstore in Barberton, Ohio. Five years later, it had grown into the nation's second largest grocer. In 1999, Kroger moved into the No.-1 spot following its $12.8 billion merger with Portland, Ore.-based Fred Meyer, upping its total number of grocery stores to 2,200. The same year, Kroger also picked up 74 Winn-Dixie stores in Texas and Oklahoma, and bought Kessel Food Markets Inc., adding another 20 stores in Michigan. The Federal Trade Commission held up the Winn-Dixie deal in June 2000, though, on grounds that it created a monopoly in the Fort Worth area. Kroger soon backed out of the deal.
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