Kroger is the nation’s largest supermarket chain. It is the world’s third largest retailer, trailing only Walmart and Costco.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson doesn’t want you to go food shopping at any of its 2,782 locations across the U.S.
That’s because Jackson, a South Carolina native, is unhappy that Kroger has closed stores in minority communities.
“If Kroger gonna leave us, we’re gonna leave Kroger. It’s boycott time,” Jackson said on Memphis TV station wreg.com.
Last year, Kroger closed 41 stores, nationwide.
The Civil Rights leader visited Cincinnati Tuesday, which is where Kroger is based. He held a news conference at a recently-closed Kroger in the area, before participating in a protest at company headquarters.
Jackson also met with Kroger’s head of corporate communications, Kristal Howard, while at it’s headquarters.
Jackson called for the protest last week over Kroger’s closure of three stores in black neighborhoods in Memphis in February and other stores serving minority communities, such as the one closed in Cincinnati, upi.com reported.
“When Kroger, in the heart of the black community pulled out — it created a food desert. It has a negative impact on the community,” Jackson posted on Twitter.
In addition to the boycott Jackson has called for, there have also been demonstrations at various Krogers. That includes picketing at stores in Georgia, in addition to some of the company’s stores in the West, USA Today reported.
Jackson said he wants to expand the current boycott. He did not provide more details about any other possible actions against Kroger.
Kroger said it has closed stores because they were unprofitable.
“Because we operate a ‘penny profit’ business, we must sometimes make tough decisions in order to keep our prices low for all customers,” Kroger said in a statement.
Jackson cast doubt on Kroger’s claims that the closed stores were unprofitable.
“I’m not sure it’s true,” Jackson said, according to cincinnati.com. “Clearly, if you look around, there are people here who eat and buy groceries. Is it a management issue or a consumer issue? People are certainly consuming.”
Kroger stated that it opened up an expanded store a little more than a mile away, in a more suburban market, from the one it closed in Cincinnati. But residents without cars reportedly were upset by the move, upi.com reported.
It also caught Jackson’s attention.
“Look at the attention suburban stores are getting . . . with wine and services,” Jackson said according to cincinnati.com. “(These closed stores) . . . someone could make these profitable.”
Jackson’s assertion was supported by a Memphis TV station. Kroger’s claim that all of its locations that had been closed in Memphis, which was refuted by wmcactionnews5.com.
It reported that a study done by Memphis City Council found that at least one of the Kroger stores was profitable.
During Jackson’s protest, Howard said Kroger was “open to further conversation and dialogue,” according to USA Today. No timeframe for the discussions was established.
There are 11 Kroger stores in South Carolina, including three in the Midlands. That total also includes stores in the Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head areas.
There are 14 Kroger’s open in North Carolina, with most located in the Raleigh-Durham area.
“When @Kroger, in the heart of the black community pulled out — it created a food desert. It has a negative impact on the community.”#NoMoreFoodDeserts #PUSHCincinnati #KeepHopeAlive pic.twitter.com/vsDiIArTto
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) April 10, 2018
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