Inside This Issue - News
Expansion strategy is outlined by Kroger
October 29th, 2012
NEW YORK – Executives at Kroger Co. told investors here earlier this month that the supermarket giant has a clear plan for long-term growth.
Building on strong momentum from its proven Customer 1st strategy, chairman and chief executive officer David Dillon, senior vice president and chief financial officer Michael Schlotman and several other members of Kroger’s management team explained that the company plans to invest in a targeted expansion strategy to increase square footage and store penetration in established markets and enter new markets.
At the conference Kroger — which operates 2,425 supermarkets in 31 states under two dozen local banner names — raised its long-term, fully diluted earnings-per-share growth target from between 6% and 8% to between 8% and 11%.
To support its growth strategy, executives said the company would most likely increase capital spending by $200 million a year and would take steps to increase its return on invested capital.
"Our proven strategy and market position provide a tremendous platform to accelerate growth and increase value creation for Kroger shareholders," Dillon told the investors and analysts at the October 16 conference.
"We are confident that Kroger’s unmatched knowledge of the customer and disciplined approach to deploying capital will drive growth at attractive levels of return," he said. "We will continue to use our strong free cash flow to deliver shareholder value through actions such as our recent 30% dividend increase and the continuation of our substantial share repurchase program."
Dillon and the other Kroger executives who addressed the conference stressed that they saw significant opportunities for the company across the broad food retailing market, noting that those opportunities extend beyond supermarkets.
"We firmly believe that there will be a space for a company that does what we do and how we go to market to interact with our customers on a day-in, day-out basis," Schlotman said. "We know our customers better than anybody. We’ve grown our sales better than anybody, and our market share is growing in a way most of our competitors can’t match."
Schlotman, Dillon and the other Kroger executives at the conference noted that recent strategic moves have helped the company grow and that they expect the next efforts to do the same.
During the past five years, they said, Kroger’s customer-centric strategy has resulted in a 200-basis-point increase in market share — defined as overall share of the products Kroger sells in the markets where it operates — to 21.1%.