Kroger at Morgan Stanley Conference Notes

posted in: Notes | 0

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“The formula for success, no matter how you go to market, whether it’s one of you all managing money, one that obviously for you all is returns. But are you giving your customer what she want? Understanding the customer, so if you don’t understand the goals of the customer whose money you all take in to invest, you’re likely not to satisfy that customer over time. If I don’t understand what it is my customer wants when they come in a grocery store and make sure I satisfy that need every trip, I’m not going to win over time. And I think where people have fallen by the wayside is they focus on numeric results rather than satisfying the customer. If you have a whole bunch of satisfied customers, the numeric results will follow. I mean, we have 7 million customers a day coming into our stores. We have the opportunity to make them feel better when they leave than when they came in. And if we’re highly successful in doing that, the odds of them coming back in 2 or 3 days, like people do right now, is very, very high. And that’s why we focus so much on the customer.

“The fact of the matter is, is the full-service grocery industry in the United States is very healthy. It’s just that a lot of those folks that are running those stores, they aren’t publicly held companies and nobody — and I’m not faulting you all for not understanding who they are or analyzing or understanding them because you can’t own their stock. So we’ll be spending a lot of time — when you don’t have much time on something, the Publix, H.E.B, Hy-Vee, Wegmans, WinCo, all of these companies are great full-service grocery operators doing just fine like we are. It’s just a lot of people that invest for a living don’t recognize that they exist because they can’t own a piece of that action. And I’m not saying that I think you ought to understand those people and spend time on them because you’re all starved for a time because there’s few and you have more and more — a bigger universe to cover every day. So you can’t spend time on something you can’t invest in. But the fact of the matter is, is the high end is doing just fine, the low end is doing just fine and where we operate is doing just fine”

“inside the company, we focus — when we look at gross margin, we look at gross margin dollar generation. I look at the same thing on operating profit. But you all want to convert it to rates, so I commit to rate.”