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Kroger (KR) exploring new ideas for downtown store

Company exec says "incubation ideas" under study

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CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. is evaluating six new "incubation ideas" for a downtown Cincinnati store, a company executive told a group of real estate professionals downtown Friday.

"We are very actively considering what to do in the urban environment," Ed Hudson, director of strategic insights for Kroger, in response to question at the University of Cincinnati's "State of Retail" event at the Hilton-Netherland Plaza downtown. The event, presented by the UC Real Estate Center, explored global retail trends and their impact on Cincinnati.

Hudson said Kroger operates successful urban stores in Los Angeles and Columbus and it's looking for better ways to serve several urban sites in Cincinnati, including downtown, Over-the-Rhine and the Uptown neighborhoods near UC.

"There are six incubation ideas for downtown alone, different sizes, different ways of doing business," he said. "New ideas are a great thing, but can you make it work financially? It does no good to create something that's not repeatable."

Hudson declined to provide more detail after his public remarks, saying the downtown-store ideas are still at an early stage.

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