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Kroger, Walgreens Expanding Kroger Express Pilot

‘We're continuing to reinvent our customer offer to meet shoppers' evolving needs,’ companies say
Photograph, video courtesy of Kroger

CINCINNATI and DEERFIELD, Ill. — Building on a pilot launched in northern Kentucky in October 2018, The Kroger Co. and Walgreens are expanding the Kroger Express and Kroger Pickup tests at select Walgreens stores in the Knoxville, Tenn., area.

Starting this fall, 35 Walgreens stores in the area will feature a curated selection of Kroger's popular Our Brands products such as Simple Truth, its organic brand, and national brand products. The assortment will vary by store and can include fresh meat, produce and dairy, frozen foods, shelf-stable products and Home Chef meal solutions to provide customers with a fill-in grocery shopping experience.

Walgreens also launched its private-label health and beauty products in 17 Kroger stores in Knoxville.

Most of the locations will feature a full Kroger Express assortment, with up to 2,700 products, and other stores will offer an average of 2,300 products.

Most of the Walgreens pilot stores will also provide customers with the convenience of Kroger Pickup, enabling shoppers to place a digital order on kroger.com or through the Kroger app for curbside pickup at a participating location.

"We continue to redefine the grocery customer experience and partner for customer value through our Restock Kroger transformation plan. Our growing relationship with Walgreens is just one more way Kroger is making life easier and better for even more customers, because everyone deserves to have affordable, easy-to-enjoy, fresh food," said Jeff Talbot, Kroger's vice president of new business development. "Expanding our pilot to Knoxville demonstrates the ongoing success and future potential of bringing together the best of Kroger's food authority with Walgreens' global expertise in health and beauty."

"Walgreens customers have responded very favorably to the Kroger Express pilot in northern Kentucky. As a result, we're exploring more ways to offer customers an enhanced, more convenient shopping experience," said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens' president of operations. "Working with Kroger, we're continuing to reinvent our customer offer to meet shoppers' evolving needs, which includes offering private-label grocery and health products at a great value, through an integrated omnichannel experience."

Launching the original pilot last year allowed Kroger and Walgreens to test and learn in a retail setting and source customer feedback and insights, allowing the companies to create a more informed expansion decision, the companies said. The pilot in Knoxville is a continuation of the test-and-learn approach, and both retailers will continue to assess customer response.

Cincinnati-based Kroger has 2,761 supermarkets and retail food stores under a variety of banners. Kroger no longer owns convenience stores. In 2018, it sold its network of more than 760 c-stores to Blackburn, U.K.-based EG Group for $2.15 billion.

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, has 9,560 drugstores nationwide.

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