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| USA TODAY
At a time when some chains might be trying to cut costs, supermarket giant Kroger is doubling down, making plans to hire about 11,000 supermarket workers even as it faces heated competition from Walmart to Amazon.
It’s the latest wave of hires for the grocery chain, which has created 22,000 positions in the past two years.
“Over the last decade, Kroger has added 100,000 new jobs in communities across America,” Tim Massa, Kroger’s group vice president of human resources and labor relations, said in a statement. “In addition to fueling the U.S. economy, many of our supermarket jobs are an opportunity for associates to grow and advance their careers.”
Kroger operates more than 2,700 groceries in 35 states under a variety of names, including Smith’s, Fred Meyer, Ralphs and King Soopers. It has remained largely a traditional supermarket chain at a time of rampant change and experimentation in the industry.
Competition in the grocery space has been heating up, with e-commerce giant Amazon purchasing Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion last year, and rivals like Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart rolling out home delivery to try to appeal to shoppers.
Walmart for instance, launched online grocery delivery in Charlotte on Tuesday, the first new market in an expansion that aims to make grocery drop-offs an option for more than 40% of U.S. households by the end of this year.
Similar to Walmart, Target and some other retailers, Kroger is also boosting wages. In March, its Cincinnati employees approved a union-backed deal that will lead to pay hikes in several cities. In the Cincinnati-Dayton area, base hourly wages will be $10, and increase to $11 after an employee has been on the job for a year.
To cover the wage increases, as well as training and development, Kroger is committing $500 million.