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    Kroger to Expand Hiring Solution to all 20 Banners

    CINCINNATI -- Following a successful pilot in two regions, the Kroger Co. plans to deploy an employee sourcing and selection system to all 17 of its retail divisions.

    CINCINNATI -- Following a successful pilot in two regions, the Kroger Co. plans to deploy an employee sourcing and selection system to all 17 of its retail divisions.

    The system, created by Portland, Ore.-based Unicru, will be used to source and select employees throughout all of Kroger's supermarkets and multidepartment stores to identify the "best fit" applicants able to provide excellent customer service, high productivity, and longer job tenure.

    The software also identifies those candidates for which retailers can earn work opportunity tax credits -- federal tax credits that encourage employers to hire eight targeted groups of job seekers by reducing the employers' federal income tax liability by as much as $2,400 per qualified new worker.

    The Unicru solution offers Kroger numerous product features and benefits, including:

    --Increased flow of English- and Spanish-speaking applicants through Kroger's careers Web site and in-store hiring kiosks

    --Job-specific behavioral assessments designed to select "best fit" employees

    --Self-service tools for store managers to efficiently hire quality candidates

    --Streamlined employee on-boarding

    --Advanced reporting on real-time process metrics and business results attainment

    Kroger will also employ Unicru's new Solution Success program, which is designed to enable Kroger divisional trainers to execute implementation strategies for rapid, high-compliance deployment of the Unicru solution throughout its store base. The program includes a Unicru-staffed training session, customized training plans, instructor manual, and learning guides.

    As of the end of its fiscal 2004, Kroger operates -- either directly or through its subsidiaries -- 2,532 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 32 states under two dozen banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith's and Smith's Marketplace, Fry's, Fry's Marketplace, Dillons, QFC, and City Market. The retailer also operates, either directly or through subsidiaries, franchise agreements, or operating agreements, 795 convenience stores, 436 jewelry stores, 536 supermarket fuel centers, and 42 food processing plants.

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