Kroger and Walgreens join forces on omnichannel initiative

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
Mike Troy
The new pilot program between Kroger and Walgreens offers intriguing potential for both companies should it be expanded beyond northern Kentucky.

A new pilot program involving two of the nation’s largest retailers highlights unconventional actions companies are willing to take to remain relevant in a disrupted retail landscape.

It may not work and may be too difficult to executives logistically, but credit Kroger and Walgreens for creative thinking when it comes experimenting with new ways to satisfy shoppers’ need.

The companies said they are collaborating on an exploratory pilot with a new format and concept that combines Kroger’s self-described role as America’s grocer and food authority with Walgreens global expertise in pharmacy, health and beauty. The two retail leaders have selected 13 Walgreens stores in Northern Kentucky, not far from Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters, to pilot the format over the coming months.

“This exciting collaboration aligns with Kroger’s vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food.”

Initially, Kroger and Walgreens will develop and test a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products and services from both companies. Customers will be able to order Kroger grocery items online and pickup orders at the participating Walgreens locations. Kroger’s popular store brands items, including its Simple Truth natural and organic brand will also be available in-store at participating Walgreens locations. The diversified shopping assortment will complement Walgreens products and services across health and wellness, pharmacy and beauty, according to the companies.

“This innovative new concept is an opportunity to test and learn, as we determine how we can best work together to further elevate our customer offering,” said Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We continue to evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers and provide a more differentiated shopping experience. We’ve been implementing new approaches to promotions, product selection and other areas to deliver greater value in our stores.”

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