SWOT Analysis Kroger

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SWOT Analysis Kroger

This SWOT analysis is about Kroger.

Strengths

  • Sturdy Market Position - Kroger has weathered the economic recession with relative success due to the strong market position it had going in. Kroger held number one and number two market share position in 39 out of 42 major markets in 2009. The company competed with 1,418 other supercenters and has achieved at least a number three market share position in 35 of its major markets. The company’s’ brand equity provides a strong competitive advantage over other firms. In 2009 Kroger was listed 82nd in the Global 500 Brand Ranking (Ranking the Brands.com), while the Reputation Institute listed it among the top 20 most reputable companies. This strength will serve the company well as it endures its most recent negative earnings forecast.

 

  • Three-pronged Branding Approach - Private selection, banner brands and Kroger value represent the company’s three-tiered branding approach. Specifically, the private selection brand strives to compete with national upscale brands, while Kroger value delivers quality items at lower prices. The banner brands consist of the company’s private label items like Ralph’s, King Soopers, and Kroger. The three-pronged approach enables Kroger to meet the demands of a wide range of customers and offers them savings not available with national brands.

  • Proficient Manufacturing Capabilities - Kroger operates around 40 manufacturing plants for processing, packaging and manufacturing its private label products. The company manufactured approximately 43% of its 14,400 private label items in its plants. Kroger’s inventory of manufacturing plants Include 18 dairies, 10 deli or bakery plants, five grocery product plants, three beverage plants, two meat plants and two cheese plants. These manufacturing capabilities allow for more efficient quality control and efficient distribution to stores.

  • Diversified Retail Product Inventory - Kroger product inventory includes a wide range of private and national brand products in a number of product categories including food produce, grocery, beverages, apparel, meat, jewelry, accessories, and general merchandise. The diversification strategy is also evident in its fuel service stations and financial services. This wide range of products and services enables the firm to create a one-stop atmosphere which facilitates frequent repeat visits for a number of purposes.

Weaknesses

  • Vendor Quality Control Lapses - Kroger obtains a substantial portion of its merchandise from suppliers that it has limiter control over. As a result, a number of consumer alerts and product recalls have been necessary. . In the first quarter of 2009, Kroger recalled a number of products including Lawry fajitas spices, and Lian How chili garlic sauce. Other recalls include Banquet Pot Pies, Kroger California Seasoning Blend Garlic Powder and Kroger Special Seasoning Blend Lemon Pepper. Obviously these recalls especially those deemed hazardous to ones health serve to harm the company's brand image by reducing customer confidence and loyalty.

  • A Unionized Workforce - Kroger’s unionized workforce puts it at a competitive disadvantage when compared with its peers Wal-Mart, Sears or Target. Its competitors enjoy lower labor costs and other operating efficiencies. This environment often includes time-consuming labor negotiations and the formulation of agreements in order to avoid work stoppages. Each work stoppage comes with the potential to impact the bottom line.

  • Legal proceeding related to Ralph’s Grocery Company case - Kroger has faced a relatively long list of legal issues stemming from its acquisition of Fred Meyer and Ralph’s Grocery. Among them include a settlement in 2006 over illegal hiring practices that occurred during a 141 day labor dispute. Potential legal issues for Kroger have also loomed in connection with Ralph’s alleged improper accounting practices. Kroger is awaiting a decision by the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service with regard to a transaction between Ralph’s Holding Company and Ralph’s Grocery. A negative decision in the case could have substantial financial impact on Kroger.

Opportunities

  • Increased Emphasis on Private Label Brands - Kroger continues to develop its private brands as a strategic asset. With a goal of decreasing its dependence on national brands, Kroger has increased promotions of its own products which include more than 14,000 brands. During the fourth quarter of FY2009, the company’s private label brands accounted for approximately 27% of the entire grocery sales. Private Selection, a private brand owned by Kroger, exceeded $1 billion in sales in FY2009. These brands have offered much appreciated savings to its customers during the economic recession.

  • Strategic Expansion Plans - Kroger plans on implementing an expansion plan which entails store relocations and store remodeling and new store openings. The Plan help the company enhance its in-store store productivity and to penetrate new markets. This in turn would allow Kroger to reach a larger customer base. Kroger has increased its capital outlay from $1.8 billion in 2007 to $2.1 in FY2009. The company is planning to spend around $1.9 to $2.1 billion during FY2010. Kroger hopes another by product is increase its operational productivity and reduced cost.

  • In-Store Health Clinic Program - Kroger is striving to better serve its customers by providing walk-in medical clinics and consumer health assistance in its stores. By partnering with The Little Clinic Kroger is able to offer the services of licensed nurses and certified physician assistants to diagnose treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses as well as for minor injuries. Kroger intends to implement the program throughout its stores and by doing so hopes to reap rewards of addition customer revenues.

Threats

  • Increasing Labor Costs - The majority of the Kroger’s 326,000 employees are covered by collective labor agreements negotiated with local unions affiliated with one of several different international unions. Kroger employees have benefited from recent increases in the federal minimum wage and it is predicted they will also benefit from health care reform. These changes present financial challenges for Kroger and have the potential to negatively impact its operating costs, as well as profitability.

  • High Debt Burden - Kroger may find itself in a position where a substantial portion of its cash flow must be funneled into paying down its indebtedness. A large percentage of debt has gone toward the implementation of its restructuring, remodeling and new store opening projects. The current economic climate has curbed the willingness of the financial industry to refinance debt. This reluctance, coupled with its $8 billion debt load may hinder future growth opportunities for the company.

  • Dismal Economic Projections - The slumping economy continues to have a negative impact of consumer expenditures. The first quarter of 2009 registered a drop of 60.5% in the US Consumer Confidence Index, the score of 26 in March 2009 as compared to the score of 65 during same period in the previous year. Current job data outlined in The Conference Board Employment Trends Index for April 2010 indicates a moderate recovery may be underway; however a slow recovery may continue to stifle potential expenditures by Kroger customers.

The Kroger Co. spans many states with store formats that include grocery and multi-department stores, convenience stores and mall jewelry stores. We operate under nearly two dozen banners, all of which share the same belief in building strong local ties and brand loyalty with our customers.

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