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Kroger Says Inflation Is Pushing Shoppers to Cheaper Store Brands -Breaking


© Bloomberg. Kroger Co.’s brand butter packages are on sale in a Louisville, Kentucky supermarket on Tuesday March 5, 2019. Kroger Co. plans to publish earnings figures March 7.

(Bloomberg) — Kroger (NYSE:) Co. said grocery shoppers are “aggressively” turning to cheaper store brands as they wrestle with the highest inflation in four decades.

The company announced Thursday that Kroger’s same-store sales of Kroger-branded goods rose 6.3% during the first quarter. This was faster than overall sales growth. Customers who are facing higher prices everywhere from the gas pump to the checkout line “are actively looking for ways to save,” Chief Executive Officer Rodney McMullen told analysts on the call.

Kroger’s comments contrast with the tone lately from consumer-staples giants like Procter & Gamble (NYSE:) Co., who say they haven’t seen shoppers trade down to store brands in a meaningful way.

Kroger said it’s also seen a decline in the number of items that customers purchase on a typical shopping trip, though that’s partly due to some shoppers buying in bulk. According to the company, customers are coming back more often than ever before.

According to Labor Department data, Groceries prices rose 11.9% in May last year, which is the highest increase since 1979.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.