Kroger ex­plores pos­si­ble sale, spinoff of con­ve­nience stores

Su­per­mar­ket chain main­tains it wants to con­sider all op­tions

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - Alexan­der Coolidge @alex­coolidge The Cincin­nati En­quirer

CINCIN­NATI Kroger is shop­ping its con­ve­nience store op­er­a­tions as the com­pany hun­kers down for a bat­tle with Ama­zon and Wal­mart in its main­stay gro­cery busi­ness.

The Cincin­nati-based su­per­mar­ket chain dis­closed “its in­ten­tion to ex­plore strate­gic al­ter­na­tives” (cor­po­rate speak for “it’s up for sale”) for 784 con­ve­nience stores lo­cated across 18 states.

An­other pos­si­bil­ity: spin­ning off the op­er­a­tion as a stand-alone com­pany.

Kroger’s con­ve­nience store brands are: Turkey Hill Minit Mar­kets, Loaf ’N Jug, KwikShop, Tom Thumb and Quick­S­top.

“Our con­ve­nience stores are strong, suc­cess­ful and grow­ing with the po­ten­tial to grow even more,” Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Mike Schlot­man said.

“We want to look at all op­tions to en­sure this part of the busi­ness is meet­ing its full po­ten­tial. Con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent pre­mium mul­ti­ples for con­ve­nience stores, we feel it is our obli­ga­tion as a man­age­ment team to un­der­take this re­view.”

The con­ve­nience store op­er­a­tions gen­er­ated rev­enue of $1.4 bil­lion and sold 1.2 bil­lion gal­lons of fuel for Kroger in 2016. The stores em­ploy 11,000 as­so­ciates.

Nei­ther su­per­mar­ket fuel cen­ters nor Turkey Hill Dairy are in­cluded in this re­view.

The com­pany has hired Gold­man Sachs & Co. to iden­tify, re­view and eval­u­ate its op­tions.

CHAR­LIE NYE, THE IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS STAR, VIA USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

Kroger says its con­ve­nience stores, such as this Turkey Hill Minit Mar­ket in In­di­anapo­lis, “are strong, suc­cess­ful and grow­ing.”

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