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   How Kroger Reinvented Itself
by Laura Baverman, The Cincinnati Enquierer
Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 4:40PM EST

The Kroger Co. realized nearly a decade ago that to survive it had to put the customer first, and permanently.

That meant larger stores with more products at cheaper prices. It meant cleaner aisles and shorter lines. It meant $4 generic prescriptions, organic food selections, Murray's Cheese counters and a 3-cent reward for using a reusable shopping bag.

It meant donating food to local food pantries, launching breast cancer awareness campaigns using local women, giving away its Deluxe ice cream to loyal Twitter followers.

"We told our shareholders our intention is to save money in places that won't matter as much to the customer, so we can pass on savings to the customer," Kroger CEO David Dillon told a packed Music Hall Ballroom crowd attending the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's annual luncheon Wednesday.

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