Grocery Roundup: Kroger Expands eCommerce Delivery; Albertsons Trials All-Self-Checkout Store

Kroger, the United States’ leading pure-play grocer, announced Tuesday (Aug.  23) the opening of two automated facilities, one in Greater Nashville and the other in the Chicago Metro Area, enabling the launch of in-house fulfillment of eCommerce delivery orders in both areas.

“Kroger Delivery promises an unparalleled shopping and delivery experience, making fresh just one click away at or the Kroger app,” Bill Bennett, Kroger vice president and head of eCommerce, said in a statement. “From personalized digital offers to our white glove delivery service, the Kroger seamless ecosystem saves time and money.”

Bennett added that delivery orders are fulfilled via Kroger-brand trucks and brought to customers’ doors by Kroger-trained and -employed couriers.

The news comes as many consumers seek grocery delivery options. The July edition of PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ series, “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Rise of the Smart Home,” which drew from a May survey of more than 2,600 U.S. consumers, found that 40% had ordered grocery delivery in the previous month.

Get the study: The Rise of the Smart Home

Albertsons Tests Self-Checkout-Only Store

As grocers look to weather staffing challenges, many are turning to self-service checkout to minimize cashier labor. U.S. grocery giant Albertsons, for one, is trialing a fully self-checkout store at a location in Boise, Idaho, area business news outlet BoiseDev reported earlier this month.

“At our Albertsons Five Mile and Ustick location, we are transitioning our traditional lanes to assisted checkout lanes as part of a pilot program,” Kathy Holland, who works in Public Relations Communication at Albertsons Companies’ Intermountain Division, told the publication. “The decision to transition this location was based on extensive research of the available technologies, the customer market area, and the store traffic and checkout patterns.”

The store features lanes for customers with 10 items or less, those with 11-19 items, and those with 20 items or more, with a larger bagging area for the latter and with staff stationed near these self-checkout stations to assist. The company did not reveal plans to extend this trial to additional areas, but it seems likely that, if these stores go off without a hitch, the grocer will try out more such locations in the future.

Schnucks Goes Small with New Store-Within-Store

As consumers look for increasingly quick, in-and-out grocery experiences, Schnucks, a St. Louis, Missouri-based grocer with 112 stores across four states, announced Wednesday (Aug. 24) the launch of a “Schnucks Express” concept in Columbus, Missouri.

This smaller-footprint, 11,000-square-foot area sits within a 42,000-square-foot building and has its own entrance, offering a smaller selection of popular items, in contrast to the premium items on offer at the rest of the store, which operates under the name EatWell.

“After listening to our customers’ feedback, we’ve learned that they enjoy the natural and organic offerings available at EatWell but also are seeking the convenience of conventional grocery items,” said Schnucks Senior Director of EatWell/Health & Wellness David Isinghood. “We invite our customers to stop in and see both the expanded selection of traditional customer favorites as well as the enhanced shopping experience of the natural and Good For You items at EatWell/Schnucks Express.”

It is unsurprising that, in this period of skyrocketing food prices, shoppers are exhibiting a preference for the brand’s non-premium offerings, opting for the basics. July’s Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) data, reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) earlier this month, noted that food at home (i.e., grocery) prices increased 13% year over year last month.