On the heels of a record-breaking digital performance in its first quarter, Kroger is garnering even more accolades when it comes to technology and innovation.
The grocery giant has been named to Computerworld magazine's Top 100 Best Places to Work in IT for 2020. This marks the third consecutive year that Kroger's technology and digital team has been recognized by the annual list for having an innovative, industry-leading workplace culture. This year, Kroger ranks 51st among large companies and is the only food retailer to earn the distinction.
"Our technology and digital team continues to create innovative experiences that are fundamentally changing the way we serve customers across America," said Yael Cosset, the company's chief technology and digital officer. "Kroger's relentless focus on delivering solutions focused on both customers and associates is what drives our ability to transform the shopping experience and is what makes Kroger a special place for our team."
The 100 Best Places to Work in IT list is an annual ranking of the top work environments for technology professionals by Computerworld. The list is developed based on categories like benefits, career development, and training and retention. Computerworld also conducts surveys of IT associates, and their responses are a factor in determining the rankings.
This summer, as part of its emphasis on workplace culture and developing talent, Kroger's technology and digital team is offering its first virtual summer internship program, in which more than 30 interns will work on real projects impactful to the business as well as participate in a series of virtual networking, mentorship and community service opportunities.
"A big part of our organization's culture is providing opportunities to grow, learn and develop the talented and passionate team behind the company's seamless ecosystem," Cosset said. "Our internship program offers real-life opportunities to future industry talent, which has never been more important to those entering the workforce, and I'm proud of our ability to continue to provide these experiences in the current environment."
Earlier this month, during its first-quarter fiscal report, Kroger said it expects to exceed its 2020 outlook after the grocer reported a spectacular quarter of sales and profit due to a crush of pantry-loading shoppers during the pandemic.
The company reported sales of $42 billion in the first quarter ended May 23, compared with $37 billion for the same period last year. Same-store sales rose 19%. Kroger’s profit increased 57% to $1.21 billion, beating analyst expectations of $876 million.
Kroger's digital sales logged a stunning 92% increase as more shoppers get their groceries online than ever before. Shoppers are ordering more groceries over the internet to avoid going to stores, and they're making bigger purchases. Online grocery sales rose 65% to $6.6 billion in May from March, according to Barrington, Illinois-based research firm Brick Meets Click. About 43 million customers shopped online last month, up from 39.5 million in March.
Earlier this month, the Kroger Co. and U.K. grocery e-commerce provider Ocado revealed that they're continuing to expand their partnership with three new customer fulfillment centers (CFCs) slated for the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and West regions – all of them smaller than initial sites, and all before the companies’ collaboration has even gone live.
Kroger also provided an update on its three-year transformation plan, Restock Kroger.
"Under Restock Kroger, we have made significant investments over the last several years to establish a seamless digital ecosystem, strengthen Our Brands and our personalization capabilities, and to enhance product freshness and quality," CEO Rodney McMullen said. "These investments helped Kroger deliver improved results in 2019, a strong start to the quarter, and very much came to the forefront as we provided our customers with the fresh food and essentials they have needed during the pandemic."
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,757 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.