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Kroger Ramps Up Digital Efforts

CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. here said it recently began ramping up efforts to promote its digital offerings to consumers.

“We know that customers who are digitally engaged with Kroger are more loyal than those customers who aren't, which is why we recently began promoting our digital offering to connect with more customers on our digital platforms,” said Rodney McMullen, president and chief operating officer, in a conference call discussing Kroger’s year-end results. “In a short period of time, we've seen visits to our mobile app increase by more than 120% and a 45% increase in traffic to, and growth in the number of customers who have signed up for online and mobile accounts with Kroger.”

He noted that the company in December reached the milestone of 500 million digital coupons that have been downloaded by its customers.

Kroger's emphasis on digital marketing comes as rival Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., reports success with its digital-coupon platform, Just for U.

Meanwhile Kroger posted its 37th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth in the fourth period, at 3% excluding fuel. Net income for the fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 2, totaled $461.5 million, vs. a loss of $305.4 million in the year-ago period related to one-time charges. Sales for the quarter, which included an extra week, increased 12.8%, to $24.2 billion. Adjusting for the extra week, sales increased 3.7% over year-ago results.

For the year, net income more than doubled, to almost $1.5 billion, vs. $602.1 million in the preceding year. Sales increased 7.1% to $96.8 billion, and were up 4.9% adjusting for the extra week.

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