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The Dayton Daily News reports that Kroger is teaming with investment firm Lindsay Goldberg to create an incubator “for next-generation products.”

According to the story, the partnership, called PearlRock Partners, will combine “Kroger’s expertise in grocery and Goldberg’s data-driven focus on family- and founder-run businesses and management team.”

Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s senior vice president of alternative business and CEO of 84.51°, said that Kroger is “transforming from grocer to growth company by deploying our assets to serve even more customers and create margin-rich alternative profit streams.” And the company said that “PearlRock Partners adds to Restock Kroger, Kroger’s plan to redefine the food and grocery customer experience through its stores, logistics and data assets. Kroger’s new growth model will be a ‘virtuous cycle,’ according to the statement.”
KC's View:
A very good idea, I think … the really smart retailers understand that if you want stuff to grow, you have to fertilize and water the land. Companies like Walmart and Amazon have internal incubators and there are a lot of companies out there that are using external incubators as a way to generate new ideas for products and services that can help them differentiate themselves.

Whether formal or informal, whether requiring a big investment or a small one … enabling these sorts of constructs makes a statement about priorities and intent.