Kroger chain invests in retail clinic operator

Retail grocery chain Kroger Co. made what it terms a "significant investment" this week in The Little Clinic LLC, a Brentwood, TN-based chain of retail clinics. The Little Clinic already operates centers inside of 26 Kroger stores, using nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants. It's operated by Solera Capital, a private equity firm that acquired the retail clinic operator's predecessor in 2005.

With the investment in hand, The Little Clinic will begin a "substantial" clinic rollout across the retailer's family of stores. It's unlikely that the pace of its rollout will allow it to catch up with competitors like Wal-Mart, which as of a year ago was beginning a 2,000-store introduction of retail clinics in its stores. However, with Wal-Mart recently hitting a snag as one of its partners fell apart financially, perhaps Kroger and The Little Clinic see an opportunity to gain some sort of ground. All told, Kroger operates a total of 2,486 supermarkets in 31 states.

To learn more about this deal:
- read this piece in The Tennessean
- read this Kroger press release

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