2015 TOP STORIES: Kroger, supermarket rivals blitz area with investment

The local grocery market continues to get even more competitive amid a combination of new entrants and big expansions from existing players.

Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. in April announced it will spend $464 million to beef up its operations in central Indiana, including creating or remodeling dozens of stores, establishing a regional training center, and creating an estimated 3,440 jobs.  

Kroger’s plan calls for building seven of its Kroger Marketplace stores, the chain’s largest locations at about 125,000 square feet. The locations will include stores at 11700 Olio Road in Fishers, U.S. 31 and Mallory Parkway in Franklin, 8850 S. Emerson Road and 5325 E. Thompson Road in Indianapolis, and three others to be announced later. The company expects to spend $141 million on the stores and create 1,530 jobs.

At least three of the Marketplace stores will replace existing Kroger stores; one will be a new location.

Kroger also will build four stores at State Road 135 and Smokey Row Road in Greenwood, 116th Street and Michigan Road in Zionsville, Southport and Franklin roads in Indianapolis, and another location to be announced later. It plans to spend $75 million on the stores and create 710 jobs.

Kroger also plans to expand five stores and remodel 17.

Central Indiana grocery stores have faced growing competition in recent years from the arrival of numerous specialty stores such as Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s and Earth Fare, as well as the addition of several Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets.

Those players joined an already-competitive market among Kroger, Meijer, Marsh and SuperTarget.

In addition, the state’s first Giant Eagle Inc.-owned grocery opened in October in Carmel. The 125,000-square-foot Market District is at 11505 N. Illinois St. within the $100 million development called The Bridges.

In July, locally based Double 8 Foods announced it had closed its four remaining groceries, ending 58 years in business. The chain blamed the move on declining revenue.

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