Kroger scoops up New York cheese shop Murray’s

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Kroger, the supermarket chain, said on Tuesday that it has gobbled up Murray’s Cheese, the beloved New York City shop that first opened almost 80 years ago.

The tie-up, in which Kroger has purchased Murray’s equity and its flagship store in New York’s West Village, comes on the back of a partnership that has been in place since 2008.

Ohio-based Kroger has already placed Murray’s Cheese shops in 350 of its locations across the US amid a rising appetite for artisanal and specialty cheeses.

“Our customers are excited to buy the unique offerings of Murray’s Cheese right in our stores, and we’re excited to ensure this iconic cheese shop will remain a part of the Kroger family for many years to come,” said Kroger chief executive Rodney McMullen.

Rob Kaufelt, Murray’s former owner, will “remain affiliated with the business as a strategic adviser,” Kroger said in a press release. Nick Tranchina, who has been executive vice president at Murray’s since January 2015 according to his LinkedIn, will continue to lead the brand, and report to Kroger executive Daniel Hammer.

“It has been my honour and privilege to work with so many tremendous, talented people over the course of my 45-year career in food retail, especially the last 25 years at Murray’s here in New York City,” said Mr Kaufelt. “I am pleased to pass the torch to our able staff, who will carry Murray’s into the future.”

Murray’s was founded in 1940 by Murray Greenberg, who sold it to one of his employees in 1970s. It was purchased in the early 1990s by Mr Kaufelt.

The store on Bleecker Street is a popular destination for New York “foodies” along with tourists, offering a wide array of domestic and imported cheeses that are sliced by cheese mongers wearing bright uniforms that are studded with pins. It also offers other specialty foods, like cured meats and olive oils, along with beer.

Murray’s also has another location in the Grand Central Terminal market — it was not immediately clear what would come of that.

Kroger, the US’s biggest pure grocery chain by sales, did not disclose the financial terms of the pact. It shares were down by 0.6 per cent at $33.52 in mid-morning trading in New York, giving it a market value of about $31.1bn.

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