Kroger Planning Management Job Cuts

Jim Dudlicek
Editorial Director
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Kroger headquarters Cincinnati
The Kroger Co. headquarters building in downtown Cincinnati

Facing intense competition and mixed financials, The Kroger Co. reportedly will cut hundreds of management jobs across the country.

The Cincinnati-based grocery giant’s stock price has taken a hit as it fights to maintain a balance of investments in technology, online shopping and in-store experience. As its profit margins have been squeezed, the job cuts – reported by the Cincinnati Inquirer – are seen as a way to help cushion the blow as it battles the likes of Walmart and Amazon for grocery market dominance.

Kroger officials declined to discuss specifics of the impending layoffs, but noted that they’re being contemplated in all 22 of the retailer’s divisions across 35 states. The company employs about 450,000 people nationwide, so cuts would have to be deep to have a significant impact on the bottom line.

“Store operating divisions are constantly evolving to ensure they build the teams and leaders who will deliver an amazing experience for customers and associates both now and in the future,” a Kroger representative told Progressive Grocer. “As part of ongoing talent management, many store operating divisions are evaluating middle management roles and team structures with an eye toward keeping resources close to the customer. Store divisions operate independently, but all of them are taking steps to ensure they have the right talent in the right store leadership positions.”

In its most recent financial report, Kroger reported a 2.5% boost in same-store sales that beat Q2 estimates, although profits dipped. Additionally, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen acknowledged last month that the retailer’s three-year growth blueprint, Restock Kroger, would fall short of its target of $400 million in incremental profit by 2020.

Kroger operates 2,761 retail food stores under a variety of banners and is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.