Walgreens to sell Kroger products in pilot program
The nation's biggest grocery and drugstore chains are testing a plan to work together, trying to keep pace with Americans who increasingly shop with the click of a button or a swipe on an iPad.
Walgreens will begin selling Kroger products in 13 stores near Cincinnati, where Kroger is based, and allow customers to use its locations to pick up Kroger groceries ordered online.
The new concept combines Mariano's parent, Kroger, with Walgreens global expertise in pharmacy, health and beauty.
The companies said they will conduct this pilot over the next several months, listening closely to customer feedback.
"This exciting collaboration aligns with Kroger's vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food."
Initially, Kroger and Walgreens will develop and test a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products and services from both companies. Customers will be able to order Kroger grocery items online and pick up orders at the participating Walgreens locations. Kroger's Our Brands grocery items, including its largest natural and organic brand, Simple Truth, will also be available in-store at participating Walgreens locations. The diversified shopping assortment will complement Walgreens products and services across health and wellness, pharmacy and beauty, officials said.
"This innovative new concept is an opportunity to test and learn, as we determine how we can best work together to further elevate our customer offering," said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. "We continue to evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers and provide a more differentiated shopping experience."
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., based in Deerfield, has about 9,800 U.S. drugstores. Kroger Co. runs 2,800 locations.
Drugstores have shifted product lineups in recent years, adding food and health and wellness items, potentially luring more shoppers who want to cut down on trips to multiple stores.
The Walgreens-Kroger partnership comes amid the health care and pharmacy expansion by online retailer Amazon, which last year purchased the grocery store chain Whole Foods and earlier this year purchased the online pharmacy Pillpack.
And CVS Health Corp. is already running pharmacies and clinics inside of Target stores.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.