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Sarah Halzack

Kroger Won't Beat Amazon With a Restaurant

Shoring up its main business is a much better way to fend off competition.
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Photographer: Daniel Acker

When Amazon.com Inc. announced it had agreed to buy Whole Foods Market Inc., the news landed like a bomb in the grocery industry. Shares of companies such as Target Corp. and Supervalu Inc. were whacked, and startups like Blue Apron Holdings Inc. faced fresh questions about how they could get traction given this change in the competitive landscape.

But no company has been harder hit than Kroger Co., the grocery behemoth with about 2,800 supermarkets nationwide. Kroger’s stock has lost more than 38 percent of its value year-to-date, making it one of the worst performers in the S&P 500 Index.