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As part of a massive strategic capital investment plan, Kroger Central Division plans to invest more than $75 million and create more than 250 jobs in northeast Indiana.
The three-year plan includes construction of three new stores, expanding two existing locations and remodeling three others. Kroger also says it will build up to 10 new fuel centers in the region. The news follows Kroger's purchase of Scott's Food and Pharmacy over a year ago.
In describing northeast Indiana's grocery, pharmacy and fuel market as "very important" for the Indianapolis-based division's parent, Kroger Central Division president Bob Moeder said the carefully managed combination of Kroger and Scott's "one year later [has] exceeded every measure of success in our business plan. Most importantly, we have been able to combine the exceptional strengths and talents of the Kroger and Scott's associates, focusing those talents on achieving ambitious goals through an unprecedented level of collaboration."
Reflecting back almost 18 months ago when Kroger first acquired Scott's Food and Pharmacy, Moeder said he "made a very firm, public commitment that we would take care of Kroger and Scott's associates in this marketplace. Of the 1,340 Scott's associates who joined us, less than 20 chose to leave the company at the time of the acquisition. This is a phenomenal retention rate in today's 21st century economy."
In the last six years, Kroger Central Division has invested in 12 new stores, with a new store planned for Indianapolis in 2009, in addition to the new stores planned for Fort Wayne. Each new store is a capital investment of at least $12 million, with the scale of Kroger's smaller projects generally exceeding what many competitors invest in total.
While a segment of Kroger's investment in Indiana has come through acquisitions, including Owen's in 1998, Hilander in 1998, Pay Less in 2000, Scott's in 2007 and four local pharmacies in 2008, Kroger will continue to consider local acquisitions as part of its long-term strategy.
As the nation's largest grocery chain and the world's largest florist, the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. operates approximately 2,600 groceries, 1,900 pharmacies, 800 convenience stores, 700 fuel centers and 400 jewelry stores, as well as 42 food manufacturing plants and dairies under 34 different banners in 31 states.
The Kroger Central Division has 153 food stores, 129 pharmacies and 52 fuel centers operating under five banners; Kroger, Scott's, Owen's, Hilander and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to five stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio.