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Kroger has performed consistently amid stiff competition from the likes of Walmart, which already has an outsize share of U.S. grocery sales, and Amazon, which is making increasing inroads into the segment. Kroger's same-store sales edged ahead 2% in 2019, which is about average for U.S. grocers, while operating profits increased 7.5%. After a slow start in ecommerce, the Cincinnati-based company has been investing to ramp up its online operations through a partnership with U.K. grocer Ocado. It aims to eventually have 20 highly automated fulfilment centers operating across the U.S. The first three of these warehouses—in Ohio, Georgia and Florida—are due to open in 2021. At least one prominent investor likes Kroger’s prospects: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed it had taken a 2.4% stake in the grocer in the fourth quarter.
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