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The Kroger Co. is pushing ahead with a massive strategic capital investment plan in its central Indiana market that will ultimately encompass 33 store projects, including four new stores and 17 major remodels to be completed through 2017.
Cincinnati-based Kroger’s plan, which quietly started in 2014, is expected to exceed $464.6 million and create an estimated 3,440 new jobs, plus additional jobs for the construction industry and Kroger’s vendor partners.
"Kroger has remained very competitive in the marketplace because we recognize the critical importance of investing in stores with features appropriate to the 21st century marketplace and evolving customer expectations," said Jeff Burt, president of Kroger’s Central Division. "Having capital resources, accurate market research and a determination to achieve our customer-focused business plan goals is a strong competitive advantage in the central Indiana region and explains our steady market share growth in recent years.”
The plan includes seven Marketplace stores, four new grocery stores, five expansions, and 17 major remodels. In addition, the project will include 22 remodeled pharmacies, 16 new fuel centers, 24 Murray's Cheese "stores within a store," 27 Starbucks outlets and 14 Little Clinics.
“This massive economic and workforce investment in the central Indiana region will include more than $465 million over four years, more than three thousand new jobs and the addition of a regional training center," Burt said. "We anticipate a catalytic impact on the construction industry and our hundreds of vendor partners, including many local Indiana firms. As Kroger grows its retail store base in Indiana, our four food plants and four distribution centers in Indiana must grow and add jobs to keep pace. Strategically investing in our people and our stores will provide job security to thousands of current and new associates in central Indiana and give us the resources to continue generously supporting hundreds of local community organizations across Indiana.”
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard praised Kroger for its commitment to the city. "Kroger was a generous corporate citizen when they arrived in the Indianapolis market in 1924, and they remain one of our most generous corporate citizens today," Ballard said. "I see their work first-hand at Gleaners Food Bank, Second Helpings, Susan G. Komen, the American Cancer Society, IPS School 46 and dozens of other organizations."
The Indianapolis plan follows completion of market-wide investment strategies in Fort Wayne and Bloomington between 2008 and 2014. The Fort Wayne strategy included an investment of more than $125 million and more than 500 new jobs. The Bloomington strategy included an investment of $40 million and more than 300 new jobs.
The Kroger Central Division has 136 food stores, 114 pharmacies and 89 fuel centers operating under four banners -- Kroger, Scott’s, Owen’s and Pay Less -- with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to three stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio.