National supermarket giant Kroger Co. recently announced its acquisition of iconic New York City–based cheese shop Murray’s Cheese.
Kroger and Murray’s Cheese have yet to disclose the financial terms of the deal, though The Wall Street Journal noted that city records show that Kroger dropped $20.6 million last month to purchase the retail condo housing the cheese shop’s flagship store, along with affiliated classrooms, catering and event operations.
Established in 1940, Murray’s Cheese employs some 200 people in its flagship location, along with its Grand Central Terminal location, its Greenwich Village restaurant, and shipping and eCommerce operations in Long Island City.
Nick Tranchina, executive vice president at Murray’s Cheese, was quoted as saying, “This provides us with opportunity and stability. This hopefully will give us more juice.”
Murray’s Cheese and Kroger have been partners for nearly a decade, with the national grocer selling the cheese shop’s products in its supermarkets. The outposts are designed to mimic Murray’s flagship store. Kroger reportedly became a minority owner in Murray’s Cheese back in 2012.
Murray’s former owner, Rob Kaufelt, will reportedly remain as a strategic adviser, and the team leading the New York City operation will largely remain unchanged. Kroger reportedly doesn’t intend to change much in Murray’s Cheese’s flagship store other than lowering prices to be in line with the supermarket giant’s larger purchasing ability.
For Kroger, the hope is to draw more selective, niche-minded customers with its investments in specialty items — one of the many strategies the store is employing to combat the eCommerce onslaught.
Kroger is thinking ahead, hoping to hold onto its number one spot as even groceries are getting digital. In late 2016, Kroger began testing sensor and analytics technology to let shelves and products interact with shoppers. The systems are designed to reach out and ping customers on their mobile devices, a move to personalize and optimize the in-store grocery experience for consumers.