Kroger’s McMullen Takes Stock Of Retail’s Future

Kroger’s chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen provided his outlook on the future of retail at the NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show in New York City during a keynote presentation themed, “Restocking the future: Kroger’s insatiable appetite to play and win the long game.”

CNBC “Squawk on the Street” and “Closing Bell” anchor Sara Eisen moderated the 30-minute conversation at the show. McMullen’s top five retail prediction points:

  1. Retail Won’t Go Away. The industry experiences disruption and transformation every few years, but it’s happening at a more rapid speed than ever before. Leaders in the industry must be willing to not only accept and react to change, but also transform their growth model.
  2. Retail Will be Digital and Physical. Technology and digital are already mainstays of today’s retail; however, in the future of retail, customers will not spend meaningful time thinking about physical versus digital. Customers will always choose the shopping modality, whether physical or digital, that will deliver anything, anytime and anywhere.
  3. Retail will Offer New Solutions to Customers. Retailers will create solutions on customers’ terms. Kroger is building an ecosystem that offers a variety of modalities, including brick and mortar, delivery, pick up and ship.
  4. Retail will be Purpose-Driven. Retail will solve problems not only for customers, but also for communities and the planet. Stakeholders are increasingly deciding which businesses to support based on shared values and clarity of purpose.
  5. Retail will Disrupt the Ad Industry. Advertisers spend $100 billion annually today, and retailers are uniquely positioned to know how customers behave and react to those marketing messages. That is why Kroger, for example, introduced Kroger Precision Marketing, powered by 84.51°. Kroger Precision Marketing provides consumer packaged goods advertisers the ability to reach Kroger’s more than 60 million customers through its ecosystem more precisely with measurable results.

McMullen also discussed how the company is shaping the national discussion around the disparity between food waste and hunger in America through Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger’s social impact plan designed to end hunger in its communities and to eliminate waste across the entire company by 2025.