Kantar Consulting foresees a steady future for Kroger, which had nearly $123 billion in sales this year.

Kroger had a sales compound annual growth rate of 6% for 2013-2018, and Kantar forecasts a rate of 3% for 2018-2023.

Elley Symmes, a senior analyst for Kantar, praised Kroger for investing in innovation and working to stay ahead of the curve.

“The big reason for that is Walmart is really Kroger’s top competition, and since Walmart has also been, especially in the past two years, much more communicative about, ‘We’re investing for long-term growth, and this is going to have a short-term hit on earnings per share and returns to shareholders, but you need to be patient with us because this will all work out in the end, I think that’s allowed Kroger to also communicate similar messages and invest for the future,” Symmes said.

On the other hand, she noted, some initiatives have not been as successful as the retailer would have hoped.

“Kroger’s store optimization strategy that they’ve implemented this year they thought was going to bring them more around 2-3% comp growth, and they’re consistently coming in around 1.5-1.6%, and that’s around if not slightly below inflation, so those strategies that they’re executing still have yet to really prove bringing growth to the business and having them be elevated as one of those outperforming retailers,” Symmes said.

While Kantar put forth a neutral outlook on Kroger, Symmes is optimistic for the retailer.

“At the end of the day, they have really smart people behind their business, they have 84.51, which just catapults them ahead in terms of the data synthesis and everything that they can do,” Symmes said. “But I think we need to see a little bit more of that growth communicated from the retailer before we put them as a real winner going forward.”


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