The Kroger Co., which operates nearly 3,000 supermarkets in the U.S. and is the largest traditional supermarket chain in the country, reported last week that it experienced a 30% surge in store sales for March as compared to the same month in 2019. Not surprisingly, the increase was caused by Americans staying home and stocking up on grocery items during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Kroger, “this was driven by dramatically heightened demand in the middle of the month as customers were stockpiling, which then tapered but remained higher than normal in the final week, as customer behavior transitioned to the next phase, where they are adjusting to new restrictions on work and travel.”
Although there haven’t been any formal announcements, it is believed that supermarket chains in Greater Philadelphia are seeing similar gains.
Kroger also announced a “hero bonus” of $2 per hour for all frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates for hours worked between March 29 and April 18. The bonus is in addition to a previously announced one-time bonus that was distributed to employees last week.
Like many retailers operating during the pandemic, Kroger is hiring. The company said it has brought in more than 30,000 new workers in the last two weeks, including many from hard-hit businesses like restaurants, hotels and foodservice distributors.