After reporting better than anticipated third quarter results on Thursday, Kroger (NYSE: KR) CEO, Rodney McMullen, spoke on the matter of coronavirus vaccines being administered within its pharmacies and how the retailer is “ready and anxious to get started.”
“We’re definitely prepared,” he said, adding the company has been working with the federal government and states for weeks. “We have pharmacy professionals. We have nurse practitioners, and we’re spread out across the country.”
Along with being the nation’s largest supermarket chain, the grocer has approximately 2,000 pharmacies located in 37 states. Furthermore, it is among those working with the Department of Health and Human Services to help dispatch the COVID-19 vaccine once it receives regulatory approval. Others involved in the HHS are Albertsons, CVS, Walgreens and Costco.
As the pandemic surges, and citizens continue to spend more of their time at home, grocery stores are benefiting.
“Especially as restaurants have been restricted or, in many cases, closed,” said Zain Akbari, an equity analyst at Morningstar. “As a result, Kroger has seen a significant uptick in its sales in the first and second quarters.”
Although in part this greatly benefits Kroger, supermarket analyst David Livingston of DJL Research, says it’s not all great news.
“It’s not all rainbows and unicorns just because your sales go up,” Livingston said. “You’ve lost some employees, you’re looking at paying overtime, you’re trying to add employees for the increased sales, you’ve had to prepare your stores for the pandemic.”
In part, Krogers is offering antibody testing within its pharmacies as a means of bringing in customers, though health and wellness are already a large part of its business strategy.
“Sometimes they’ll do 20% of their total sales just in the pharmacy,” Livingston said.