A prolonged recession and food price deflation over the last 18 months combined to give Kroger Co.’s “Customer First” strategy its sternest test, but Dave Dillon resolutely stuck to his guns. When the dust settled, Kroger was one of the few food retailers to gain market share and grow sales during the downturn, even as those gains came at a cost to its bottom line. Competitors, who either got a later start than Kroger on price investments or couldn’t bear to ...

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