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Who are you wearing? Kroger to launch its own clothing line

Fred Meyer will introduce its own clothing line next fall.
Fred Meyer will introduce its own clothing line next fall. Staff file, 2011

Call this a new spin on something already happening

Kroger said Friday it plans in fall 2018 to sell a new “modern lifestyle” clothing line, spanning from kids to adults, at about 300 Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace stores.

According to the grocer’s news release, the line will focus on active wear and basic essentials — “clothes to truly live life in, and look good doing it.”

Full-scale Fred Meyer stores in the area already sell clothing, so why is this happening?

“This launch of Our Brands fashion will re-invigorate Kroger’s apparel line,” Robert Clark, the company’s senior vice president of merchandising, said in Friday’s release.

“We will be able to serve our customers across the country the inspiration they are looking for, which translates into an immense opportunity for growth in sales, share, and loyalty.”

Private labels can be a money-maker and add to the experience of a store overall. Think Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand (which owner Amazon also sells on its website) or Target’s exclusive, in-house brands spanning all product lines.

A report Oct. 27 on Investor’s Business Daily made note of the private label trend, calling it “a bounty waiting to be innocently discovered online as modern shoppers ditch old-school name brands and seek out stuff that’s cool but cheap.”

Kroger is more than aware of its new, rapidly expanding U.S. competition, Lidl, which relies primarily on brands being based in-house and carries a clothing line designed by Heidi Klum.

According to a report Friday in The Wall Street Journal, Kroger has slowed new store growth as it expands its e-commerce, and is reorganizing store shelves to more prominently display its in-house brands.

No time line yet on how the latest clothing project will unfold in the South Sound.

No updates yet either, for when Gig Harbor will see the opening of its new Fred Meyer.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

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