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Kroger acquires Vitacost.com, anticipates expansion of online delivery services for customers

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In a $280 million merger, Kroger announced July 2 that it will purchase Vitacost.com, an online health product retailer, with sights set on an enhanced online presence.

As the largest U.S. supermarket chain, Kroger already operates stores in 34 states and Washington, D.C. But the company anticipates that the merger will enable them to serve customers through ship-to-home orders in all 50 states.

"We are delighted to welcome Vitacost.com to the Kroger family," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's CEO, said in a statement. "This merger is in line with our growth strategy to enter new markets and new channels, and – along with Harris Teeter's online order and pick up service – accelerates our efforts to provide customers with even more ways to shop.”

Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, Vitacost.com is one of the largest pure eCommerce companies in the nutrition and healthy living market, offering more than 45,000 products including vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements, sports nutrition, beauty care products and natural and organic foods to approximately 2.3 million active customers.

Kroger called Vitacost.com’s leadership and nutrition and wellness products a complement to the supermarket’s Simple Truth organic and natural corporate brand offering, which has gained significant popularity since the brand was introduced in 2012 — despite the lawsuit the company faced over the brand in February.

Vitacost.com's core focus on healthy living products is complementary to our fast-growing natural foods business, and we intend to grow Vitacost.com's strong position in the online nutrition market,” McMullen added. “At the same time, we will build on Vitacost.com's eCommerce platform by integrating it with our existing digital offerings to create exciting new levels of personalization and convenience for our customers."

Kroger operates 2,642 supermarkets and multi-department stores under two-dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 787 convenience stores, 324 fine jewelry stores, 1,261 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.