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USA: Will the Kroger/Walgreens pilot lead to something really big?

Kroger and Walgreens have announced a new pilot program that brings together the convenience of shopping on the supermarket’s website with customer pickup at 13 local Walgreens in Northern Kentucky. Items from Kroger’s private label lines, including its Simple Truth organic brand, will also be stocked in Walgreens as part of the test.

“This exciting collaboration aligns with Kroger’s vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food.”

The retailers said they plan for the test to take several months during which they intend to seek feedback from customers.

“This innovative new concept is an opportunity to test and learn, as we determine how we can best work together to further elevate our customer offering,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

The connection between the grocery and pharmacy giants will undoubtedly lead to speculation as to where it might lead in the future. Will the pilot prove successful and be rolled out across the country? Would the two consider a merger or, perhaps, a deal similar to Target and CVS whereby Walgreens locates its pharmacies in Kroger’s stores?

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