CNN reports that Kroger plans to unveil a new fashion line next year called “Our Brands” that the company says “will re-invigorate Kroger's apparel line” and, the story says, the company hopes “can help it keep pace with Amazon and Walmart.” As part of the company’s broader “Restock Kroger” program, the company calls “Our Brands” a “strong, vibrant growth vehicle” and “a top strategic priority,"

CNN frames the story this way:

“Although clothing isn't new to Kroger, it has never sold clothes under its own label. The company has sold more than a dozen third-party brands for years at Fred Meyer and Smith stores and carries seasonal apparel at some of its nearly 2,800 supermarkets across the country. The company doesn't plan on selling its own clothing brand at its supermarkets ... at least not yet.

“Kroger's latest dive into fashion is designed with competitors in mind. Amazon stepped into the fashion world last year, launching in-house clothing brands. In June, Walmart expanded its clothing footprint by purchasing Bonobos for $310 million.

“Kroger needs new ways to appeal to customers. Its supermarket business has been hit hard by falling grocery prices. Competition is up and foot traffic is down.”

KC's View: I love the idea of creating a proprietary differential advantage, if that indeed is what Kroger’s “Our Brands” effort turns out to be. I must admit that when it comes to food stores, I prefer it when they focus on creating differentiated food offerings, because that’s their expertise. But I get the strategy involved here.