Kroger CEO Unsure What The 'New Normal' Will Look Like

Kroger Co KR has seen a large increase in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic and what will be the "new normal" once the pandemic passes is anyone's guess, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said during a recent Evercore ISI hosted "fireside chat."

What Happened

Kroger saw a 30% increase in identical-store sales in March as consumers felt the urgency in stockpiling food items, McMullen said, according to Supermarket News. Demand started to taper off, but is still trending higher than usual as families are eating much more often at home.

While Kroger is unsure what will transpire next in terms of consumer behavior, McMullen said the company is making the necessary investments in its people, stores and supply chain.

Kroger expects to emerge "best-positioned to serve our customers and communities and come out better."

Why It's Important

One of the trends Kroger is seeing is consumers foregoing their brand preferences. For example, consumers aren't looking for any particular brand of toilet paper; rather, they just want to "get the item versus the brand."

Another trend taking place is consumers are visiting stores less frequently but buying more items per trip. This marks a notable contrast from prior habits where some consumers enter a store to only buy what is needed for one meal at home.

What's Next

Concerns over the country's food supply chains should continue holding up well, provided everyone acts responsibly in their purchases.

"Whenever I get a chance to be in front of a national audience, I always remind people there's plenty of food in the supply chain and just buy what you need," McMullen said. "And as long as everybody buys what they need, the supply chain will operate effectively and efficiently, and people will be able to continue to eat and eat the way they want to."

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Photo by Virginia Retail/Wikimedia

Posted In: coronavirusCovid-19Evercore ISIGrocery ChainRodney McMullenSupermarketRetail SalesMedia