CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here said it is keeping a close watch on the on-line sales of the competition, but will not launch its own Internet effort until it develops a business model capable of producing a profit.
Although Kroger has yet to find -- or develop -- a money-making e-commerce system, McMullen said he believed the company is well-positioned to triumph on the Web.
"We believe a brick-and-click is more likely to be successful than a stand-alone," he said. "We also believe that success is more likely for a company that begins with a solid market share."
The logistics of e-commerce is a puzzle that has yet to be solved McMullen noted. "The cost of picking and delivering remains the major challenge," he said, "but we believe it can be solved in some markets.
In June, Kroger announced that shoppers at the company's more than 2,300 stores across the country would be able to use Priceline WebHouse Club, Stamford, Conn., for grocery savings before the end of the year.
The Priceline service offers shoppers discounts on groceries bought through its Web page, but involves neither in-store picking nor home delivery.
Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif., became the latest Kroger division to introduce the Priceline WebHouse Club program to its customers earlier this month.