Now hiring in hall 3: Kroger seems to add 11,000 supermarket workers

Kroger
Co.


KR 0.72%

is hiring 11,000 workers to improve customer service and efficiency in its thousands of stores as competition among food retailers heats up.

Kroger said new positions in about 2,800 supermarkets will include 2,000 managers and represent a 2% increase in their workforce of approximately 450,000 full-time and part-time employees. The hiring push is part of a three-year plan to focus on reviewing existing stores instead of building as many new ones as in previous years.

The largest supermarket chain in the US UU He wants to put more workers in stores instead of his headquarters in Cincinnati. a spokeswoman said. Last year, Kroger granted voluntary purchases to 1,300 white collar workers to reduce costs as sales fell. Kroger also fined providers to raise revenue and improve performance, as well as

Walmart
Inc.

Kroger faces tougher competition for buyers. The purchase of Whole Foods Market by Amazon.com Inc. is causing shop owners to accelerate digital investments. At the same time, they are feeling the pressure to keep prices down as the big European discount stores Aldi and Lidl expand in the US. UU

"The central problem in retailing remains the high degree of uncertainty," badysts at Morgan Stanley wrote. for investors recently.

Kroger shares rose slightly on Tuesday, but remain low at around 14% this year.

Food retailers are also competing for workers in the toughest job market in the United States in nearly two decades. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% on Friday for the sixth consecutive month, a minimum of 17 years. Job vacancies are at a record level.

The shortage of workers is even more pronounced in the Midwest, where 1.3 million people living in the region in 2010 had left by the middle of last year, according to the Census Bureau. Slow population growth, the aging baby boom generation and fewer immigrants than the rest of the country have slowed the growth of the workforce there. Midwestern states, including Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, are among those with the most Kroger stores.

Kroger, Walmart,

objective
Corp.

and other food retailers are also investing savings from federal tax law to increase workers' pay and benefits. Kroger has said he would spend $ 500 million on wages and benefits for workers, including the increase in starting salaries in some regions to $ 10 per hour.

-Shayndi Raice contributed to this article.

Write to Heather Haddon at [email protected]

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