Kroger is launching a…clothing line?

Katarina Kovac, Staff Reporter

Kroger is launching a whole new line of products for its customers, and this time it’s not something they can eat.

In an Amazon dominated world, Kroger is trying to stay competitive as it now aims to be a destination for more than just groceries. This is because Kroger is launching its own clothing line.

The supermarket chain announced that it will be launching a clothing line next fall as a part of “Kroger Restock,” the company said. The plan will include a large amount of capital investments—around $9 billion over the next three years.

“This new brand gives Kroger a chance to inspire and connect with our customers, offering effortless style every day — from elevated basics to fashionable highlights,” Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising told CNN.

The clothing line will launch with pieces for children, juniors, men and women.

The move to produce a clothing line comes because traditional grocery chains have faced increasing competition from all fronts.

Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market over the summer has raised concerns about the viability of traditional grocers, including Kroger. In an effort to combat the competition, Kroger decided to expand beyond groceries and focus on shopper’s lifestyle.

The brand will first roll out across Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace stores, which account for 300 locations nationwide.

Another grocery chain that has previously taken the clothing line route is Lidl, a German-based grocer that’s expanding rapidly across the nation, also sells apparel and recently launched a clothing line with celebrity designer Heidi Klum.

Large chains such as Walmart, Meijer and Target are known for offering both groceries and clothing to customers within the same stores.

Target was one of the first to bring in big-name designers for collaborations on low-price collections. Its 2011 launch of a Missoni line was a major success both online and in stores. The chain quickly ran out of stock and items from the brand appeared on eBay and elsewhere for resale at inflated prices.

Target has since duplicated this success with limited edition launches tied to luxury designers including Victoria Beckham, Marimekko and others.

Some have claimed that it sounds like Kroger is having an identity crises in terms of what the brand stands for. Kroger equals food. Could Neiman Marcus equal grocery?  The majority of society would say no.

So why is Kroger, a store known for selling produce, launching a lifestyle clothing line?

Is the launch of a clothing line a ploy at creating a press release during the time of an Amazon-dominated market?

The question of whether or not people will actually try on a new pair of jeans as they shop for produce remains to be answered.

How long will it be before you won’t just put gas in your car at Kroger, but you can buy the car there, too?