Kroger's CEO reveals the hidden strength of American consumers

Kroger’s business is on fire.

The company recently reported that profits are soaring, and shares are up more than 50% in the past year.

Chairman and chief executive officer W. Rodney McMullen says that the improving US economy helped the retailer sell more products.

“We are pleased to see the economy moving in the right direction,” McMullen told investors on a recent conference call.

McMullen said that many consumers are splurging on more expensive items like Murray’s Cheese, Starbucks coffee, and Boar’s Head deli meats.

He also said there’s more demand for organic products in stores. This is good news for the economy because organic foods are generally more expensive.

Kroger, which has more than 2,000 locations, is expected to overtake Whole Foods as the nation’s top seller of organic food.

McMullen speculates that lower gas prices mean Americans are spending a bit more on groceries.

Restaurant sales have also been spiking.

Earlier this year, Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, indicated consumers are feeling more comfortable than usual.

“For the first time in a long time we’re seeing alcohol sales grow, add-on sales grow, dessert sales grow,” executives told investors.

Business Insider’s Myles Udland reports that this is a good sign for the economy because it shows people are spending on extras.

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