Kroger, Albertsons CEOs Counter Myths About Merger

Executives clarify intentions and actions in letter published in the Cincinnati Enquirer
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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a man wearing a suit and tie
Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of The Kroger Co.

The CEOs are speaking out. Vivek Sankaran of Albertsons Cos., Inc. and Rodney McMullen of The Kroger Co. shared a jointly-penned opinion letter to the editors of the Cincinnati Enquirer and

In the April 28 message, the leaders sought to dispel misconceptions around the proposed merger between their organizations. They emphasized their respective legacies of serving customers while also pointing to the marketplace changes that led to their decision to pool their businesses.

[Read more: "Website Launches in Opposition to Kroger-Albertsons Merger"]

“Our collective grocery retail experience teaches us that customers’ needs are always changing. It’s our responsibility to anticipate those changes and provide what’s most important to them,” the leaders wrote.

The piece called out three specific myths surrounding the pending merger. First, they sought to allay concerns about store closings, noting that Kroger has committed to “zero store closures” as a result of the business move. "As a part of the regulatory process, we anticipate divesting − or selling − some stores. These stores will remain open. We are working closely with the regulators and are committed to finding reliable operators for the divested stores,” Sankaran and McMullen wrote.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera
Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons Cos.

The CEOs also tamped down rumors about job losses, reiterating the point that “no frontline workers will be laid off as a result of the merger.” The letter pointed out that the average hourly wage at Kroger is $23.50 and highlighted the education assistance available to its associates.

Finally, the executives addressed perceptions around price. “We have seen claims we will lower prices by squeezing farmers. This is simply not accurate. Farmers are the backbone of our business and help put fresh, affordable food on families’ tables daily,” Sankaran and McMullen declared, adding that the combined organization aims to offer lower prices and more choices for shoppers.

They concluded on a positive note, expressing optimism about opportunities that the joint operation will offer to associates, consumers and communities.

Serving 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores in 34 states. The company is No. 9 on The PG 100. PG also named both companies to its Retailers of the Century list. 

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