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The Tampa Bay Business Journal has a story about the opening of Kroger's new 338,000 square foot Central Florida warehouse, which it plans to use to "aggressively court grocery shoppers" in the state while having no plans to open traditional stores there.

In other words, Kroger is embarking on a strategy that, at least for the time being, is a pure-play e-commerce model in Florida, banking on the Groveland facility and two smaller warehouses in Tampa and Jacksonville, to deliver - literally - on the company's online value proposition.

While Kroger will be competing with known quantities such as Publix and Walmart, the Journal quotes CEO Rodney McMullen as saying that Kroger has a high profile among the state's residents:  " Kroger's market research shows that half of Floridians are already familiar with the grocer, either from living elsewhere or visiting family that lives in a Kroger market."

"We really felt strongly that Florida was the right place to enter with that model," McMullen said. "If you look at [the idea of Kroger] coming in with physical stores, it wasn't offering something different than was already there. By coming to Florida with this model, where we deliver to everyone's houses, it offers the customer something unique."

KC's View:

One thing not mentioned in the article is that Kroger should have data on many of those Floridians who know the company - for years it has had superior data analytics capabilities through its ownership position in Dunnhumby USA and its renamed successor 84.51°.  That should, theoretically, give it the ability to reach out to customers for whom it has some history and even make some targeted offers that could drive sales to its online offering.

If we work on the premise that convenience continues to be a driving motivator for consumers, then there are few things more convenient than a van pulling into your driveway.