Kroger Expands Financial Services Offerings
"It's about driving more people to the store and bringing them back," says Kathy Kelly, president of the Kroger Personal Finance division formed in 2004. The grocery chain reaps fees for the services provided in partnership with conventional banks and insurance companies. Kelly says that the services are usually priced in the middle to lower end of market averages.
Combining financial services with groceries has been common for years in some other countries, such as Britain. Kelly thinks financial services will continue to grow in the grocery industry, just as many grocers began offering full-service pharmacies and gas stations in past moves into new businesses. But Spencer Hapoienu, president of database and marketing company Insight Out of Chaos, cautions that grocers might range too far from their area of expertise.