Kroger to sell products on Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba

An employee bags a customer's purchases at a Kroger store in Peoria, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An employee bags a customer’s purchases at a Kroger store in Peoria, Illinois.

Kroger will begin to sell its products on Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, the latest in a series of initiatives to bolster its digital business.

The Cincinnati-based grocer has over the past few months moved to transform its business as the idea readies its defenses against giants Walmart in addition to Amazon. the idea acquired a stake in British online supermarket Ocado in May, agreed to buy meal kit company Home Chef in addition to launched grocery delivery service Kroger Ship.

Kroger plans to open an online storefront on Alibaba’s platform for international brands, Tmall Global. Its focus will include dietary supplements in addition to private label products under the brand Simple Truth.

There has been a growing interest in China for overseas nutrient products, fueled by the country’s increased focus on health in addition to wellness in addition to amid limited confidence in its own safety standards.

Kroger’s Simple Truth line, launched in 2012, has since grown to reach $2 billion in sales.

An Alibaba spokesperson told CNBC the company can be “pleased to work with Kroger to bring their Kroger Simple Truth products to the Chinese market through our Tmall Global platform to meet Chinese consumers’ growing demand for high-quality, organic food products.”

The Kroger/Alibaba partnership can be the latest effort of a U.S. retailer to rethink its global footprint. In May, Walmart agreed to a $16 billion deal to acquire a majority stake in India’s Flipkart, beating out Amazon inside the process. A month later, the idea announced the sale of its Brazil unit to private equity firm Advent International.

Shares of Kroger were up more than 2 percent in early afternoon trading.

Kroger did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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