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Kroger, Walgreens to Explore Sales Partnership

'Exploratory pilot' to test grocery pickup, private label offering at 13 stores
Photograph: Shutterstock/Courtesy of Walgreens

Less than two months after the Albertsons/Rite Aid deal fell flat, The Kroger Co. is taking on its own pharmacy collaboration efforts through a new partnership with Walgreens.

Kroger, however, is taking a different approach than Albertsons' pricey proposed merger; the retailer will use 13 Walgreens stores in northern Kentucky as a testing grounds for a one-stop-shop concept and will strongly consider customer feedback when deciding whether to expand the program. 

Dubbed an "exploratory pilot" by the retailer, the efforts aim to create a venue in which customers can shop for products from both companies, meeting consumer trends for convenience and on-demand shopping.

Shoppers will be able to grab their Grocery Pickup (previously ClickList) orders at the Walgreens locations. Additionally, the selected Walgreens stores will carry items from Kroger's private label line, including Simple Truth products.

Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said the collaboration "aligns with Kroger's vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift.

"This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food," he said. 

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., said the concept is an opportunity to "test and learn." 

"We continue to evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers and provide a more differentiated shopping experience," he said. "We've been implementing new approaches to promotions, product selection and other areas to deliver greater value in our stores."

The efforts add to Kroger's growing portfolio of retail experiments, including a newly launched signature fashion line and self-driving cars.  Kroger also recently began selling private label groceries in China through a partnership with the online retailer Alibaba.

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