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Kroger partners with area college to ramp up tech in grocery industry

Kroger is taking another major step to position itself ahead of competitors when it comes to ecommerce in the grocery industry.

The company recently signed an agreement with the University of Cincinnati to operate an innovation lab at the college’s 1819 Innovation Hub. The goal of the partnership is to help Kroger continue to develop the future of the grocery industry while giving college students an opportunity to develop technology skills.

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“Kroger’s new partnership with the University of Cincinnati is one more way we are investing to create the now and future of retail,” said Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s executive vice president and chief information officer. “This innovative collaboration is driven by Restock Kroger and provides the Kroger Technology team another creative space to partner and develop solutions to redefine the grocery customer experience.”

Kroger will staff the university’s hub with R&D engineers, software developers and other resources. There will also be a co-op and internship program for University of Cincinnati students.

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“The 1819 Innovation Hub is a coworking community where we will build and discover the next generation of technology and talent,” Hjelm said. “Our vision is to create a talent pipeline that supports our business and positions the region as a place for digital and technology students and professionals.”

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Kroger will fill 2,500 square feet of the 12,000 square-foot Innovation Hub that opened last week for the start of the fall semester. The Cincinnati-based retail giant is expected to finish construction and occupy the space by October.

Kroger, which has 44 supermarkets and employs more than 8,100 associates in the Dayton region, has made significant moves in recent months to increase its technology base, including the partnership with the University of Cincinnati, opening a digital headquarters in downtown Cincinnati and expanding its ClickList grocery pickup and Instacart grocery delivery.

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