Kroger, Walgreens partner to test grocery pickup at drugstores

Kroger and Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Tuesday that they are testing a new store format that will essentially allow customers to pick up their groceries while shopping at the pharmacy.

The new “exploratory pilot” will be tested at 13 Walgreens stores in northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters. The two companies said they plan to test this new concept over the next several months, while “listening closely to customer feedback.”

“This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Kroger said the overall plan is to test a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products and services from both companies. Customers at participating locations will now be able to order their groceries online from Kroger and then pick them up at Walgreens, but its unclear if Walgreens customers can do the same at Kroger locations.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, added that the deal is a perfect opportunity to elevate its customer offerings and provide a differentiated shopping experience.

Plus, the deal comes amid a massive health care, pharmacy and grocery expansion by online retailer Amazon. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant purchased online pharmacy PillPack, after its massive acquisition of grocery store chain Whole Foods last year.

The partnership also comes in the wake of a failed merger between grocer Albertsons and Rite Aid, which were also looking to combine to services.