Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen shared his predictions for the future of retail as part of a keynote presentation at NRF 2019: Retail's Big Show in New York City.

Talking to CNBC's Sara Eisen during a 30-minute conversation, McMullen outlined five predictions:

  • Retail won't go away, and leaders must be willing to accept change and react to it as well as transform their growth model.
  • Retail will be digital and physical, with customers not spending meaningful time thinking about the difference. Customers will always choose the shipping modality that will deliver anything, anytime and anywhere.
  • Retail will offer new solutions to customers through an ecosystem that offers a variety of modalities, including brick and mortar, delivery, pick-up and ship.
  • Retail will be purpose-driven, solving problems not only for customers, but for communities and the planet. 
  • Retail will disrupt the ad industry with programs such as Kroger Precision Marketing, which provides consumer packaged goods advertisers the ability to reach Kroger's more than 60 million customers through its ecosystem with measurable results.

Also during the discussion, McMullen announced that Kroger will issue its inaugural open call and will award up to $1 million to for-profit and non-profit innovators developing solutions for food waste prevention to test and scale solutions.