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Kroger is disrupting big pharmacies - and it's clear in the data

1 month ago by Jon Marino in Earnings

It's been a sideways year for Kroger stock ($NYSE:KR) and shares fell underneath breakeven on December 3 as the market sweated out the latest implications of the US-China trade war's persistence. 

Analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS $0.48 when the company announces results on Thursday, December 5  - also flat. 

But what clearly is not flat, is Kroger's ambitions to get into the pharmacy space - which our first chart tracks. This is a metric derived from the company's job postings and filtered across keywords like 'pharmacy,' 'pharmacy technician,' and 'Rx,' among others. And, it shows that Kroger posted nearly 1,200 jobs fitting these descriptions.

That's the equivalent of more than a dozen battalions (depending on how you measure them) and underscores just how serious the company is about taking on traditional players in the space - and digital disruptors, which we've covered before. 

Drilling down on the data, we can also see that US states including Texas and Ohio are being targeted for growth in job postings for pharmacy roles. 

Our second chart tracks thousands of Kroger job postings across the US - and (the timeframe is slightly different), at the exact same point we can see more than 1,200 jobs coming onto Kroger listings. We can also tell, looking at the chart above and comparing it to the first one, that the overwhelming majority of these positions are focused on Kroger's pharmacy business bid. 

The company's leadership is aware of the sizeable transition - and that they're getting into an increasingly competitive industry with compressing margins. CEO Rodney McMullen summed it up on the company's prior quarterly earnings call: "we knew that there would be a transition period that we needed to transform the company." It looks like Kroger's going through it right now. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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