Kroger, Costco, Target and Aldi are said to be among several brick-and-mortar retailers expressing interest in acquiring Boxed, the online bulk retailer often described as “Costco for millennials.”
Forbes, citing unnamed sources, said Kroger was the “most likely candidate” to buy Boxed, but it was unclear if it had made an offer. Some companies may have already made offers, the report added, although it said Boxed could also walk away from a deal.
Kroger in 2014 jump-started its ecommerce offerings by acquiring the online nutrition store Vitacost for $280 million. Officials have said that business has provided the Cincinnati-based retailer additional sales opportunities for its private label foods and has expanded its geographic reach to markets where it currently does not operate stores, such as New York City.
Boxed could potentially allow food stores to recapture center store sales that have departed for the internet, and connect further with younger shoppers increasingly turning to online options.
Kristal Howard, a spokeswoman for Kroger, declined comment to WGB.
Boxed, Costco and Aldi were not immediately available for comment.
The report said initial offers for Boxed could range from $325 million to $500 million. Boxed had last raised money in 2016 at a valuation of $470 million, according to a Delaware filing under its corporate name, Giddy Inc. Founded in 2013, New York-based Boxed sells warehouse-club items on the web and mobile app for home delivery.