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    Kroger Going All In on Michigan

    Grocer investing $100 million and counting in Great Lake State operations

    The Kroger Co. enjoys a leading share of the grocery market in Michigan, and the Cincinnati-based retailer isn’t taking that for granted.

    By the end of the year, Kroger’s Michigan division will have invested more than $100 million in its operations in the state, Crain’s Detroit Business reported. The investments include numerous store expansions and renovations, including a $5.6 million project in suburban Detroit that will soon reopen after a four-month closure, among at least 10 major remodels running $4 million to $6 million each.

    Kroger is also opening new fuel centers, adding to the 62 facilities it already operates near the 124 Kroger supermarkets in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Lansing, Crain’s reported.

    The grocer anticipates spending another $100 million in each of the next two years because “the Michigan market is very, very important to Kroger,” Jayne Homco, Michigan division president, told Crain’s.

    A vibrant independent grocer community in Michigan keeps Kroger on its toes: Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Hiller’s, Hollywood Markets, Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market and Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace. Strong home-state rivals also include Grand Rapids-based SpartanNash, operator of its own banners including VG's, and Grand Rapids neighbor Meijer Inc. Superstore operator Meijer has prompted traditional grocer Kroger to up its game on expanded-format stores; it opened Michigan’s first Kroger Marketplace, a 123,000-square-foot store, nearly a year ago, offering housewares and apparel alongside groceries.

    Plans call for additional superstores, if Kroger can obtain the large sites needed, Homco told Crain’s.

    Boosting selection of local products also is part of Kroger’s strategy in Michigan, Crain’s further reported; some of its dairy products come from its own dairy plant in the state, while much fresh produce is sourced locally.

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