In 1883, 23-year-old Bernard Kroger, the fifth of ten children of German immigrants, invested his life savings of $372 to open a grocery store at 66 Pearl Street in downtown Cincinnati.

In 1884 Kroger opened its second store.

In 1916 Kroger company began self-service shopping. Before this, all articles were kept behind counters, and customers would ask for them, and then clerks would deliver them to customers.

Kroger had a number of stores in the Western Pennsylvania region, encompassing Pittsburgh and surrounding areas from 1928 until 1984 when the U.S. began experiencing a severe economic recession.

In 1929, it was rumored that Safeway would merge with Kroger.

In the 1930s, Kroger became the first grocery chain to monitor product quality and to test foods offered to customers, and also the first to have a store surrounded on all four sides by parking lots.

In May, Kroger entered the Houston, Texas, market by acquiring the Houston-based 26-store chain, Henke & Pillot.

In late July, Kroger purchased Child's Food Stores, Inc. of Jacksonville, Texas.

Beginning in 1955, Kroger began acquiring supermarket chains, expanding into new markets.

In June, Kroger acquired the Krambo Food Stores, Inc. of Appleton, Wisconsin.

In January 1956, the company bought out Big Chain Stores, Inc., a chain of seven stores based in Shreveport, Louisiana, later combining it with the Child's group. All of these chains adopted the Kroger banner in 1966.

In September 1957, Kroger sold off its Wichita, Kansas, store division, then consisting of 16 stores, to J. S. Dillon and Sons Stores Company, then headed by Ray S. Dillon, son of the company founder.

Kroger opened stores in Florida under the SupeRx and Florida Choice banners from the 1960s until 1988, when the chain decided to exit the state and sold all of its stores; Kash n' Karry bought the largest share.

In October 1963, Kroger acquired the 56-store chain Market Basket, providing them with a foothold in the lucrative Southern California market.

All of these chains adopted the Kroger banner in 1966.

In the 1970s, Kroger became the first grocer in the United States to test an electronic scanner and the first to formalize consumer research.

Kroger exited the Chicago land area market in 1970 selling its distribution warehouse in Northlake, Il. and 24 stores to the Dominick's Finer Foods grocery chain.

Kroger built an ultra-modern dairy plant (Crossroad Farms Dairy) in Indianapolis in 1972, which was then considered the largest dairy plant in the world.

Kroger exited Milwaukee in 1972, selling a few stores to Jewel-Osco.

Kroger entered the Charlotte market in 1977 and expanded rapidly throughout the 1980s when it bought some stores from BI-LO.

Kroger entered the competitive San Antonio, Texas, market in 1980 but pulled out in mid-1993.

In northeastern Ohio, Kroger had a plant in Solon, Ohio until the mid-1980s.

In 1982, Kroger sold the 65-store Market Basket chain it had operated for several years in southern California.

In 1983, The Kroger Company acquired Dillon Companies grocery chain in Kansas along with its subsidiaries and the convenience store chain Kwik Shop.

In the 1990s, Kroger acquired Great Scott (Detroit), Pay Less Food Markets, Owen's Market, JayC Food Stores, and Hilander Foods.

Kroger entered the Richmond, Virginia, market in 2000, where it competes against market leaders Martin's and Food Lion.

In 2004, Kroger bought most of the old Thriftway stores in Cincinnati, Ohio, when Winn-Dixie left the area. These stores were reopened as Kroger stores.

Kroger Marketplace is a chain of big-box stores. The brand was introduced in 2004 in the Columbus, Ohio, area, which lost the Big Bear and Big Bear Plus chains in Penn Traffic's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In February 2017, Kroger withstood large community protests after announcing the closing of two smaller-sized Louisville-area stores.

In 2007, Kroger acquired Scott's Food & Pharmacy from SuperValu Inc.

In 2008, Kroger began a partnership with Murray's Cheese of New York City.

The company announced in April 2013 that full-time employees would maintain their health insurance benefits.

On July 9, 2013, Kroger announced its acquisition of Harris Teeter in a deal valued at $2.5 billion and that it will assume $100 million in the company's outstanding debt.

In 2013, Kroger announced that the spouses of the company's unionized workers would no longer be covered by the company's insurance plan.

On May 1, 2017, Kroger, along with the University of Kentucky and UK Athletics, sports, and campus marketing partner JMI Sports, announced a 12-year, $1.85 million per year campus marketing agreement.

On February 7, 2017, it was announced that Kroger Co. had purchased Murray's Cheese.

As of 14 February 2017, Kroger is no longer offering a discount to senior citizens 59 and up.

On May 10, 2017, Kroger opened its first convenience store.

On June 1, 2017, Kroger opened their second Fresh Eats. Kroger is also going to convert some Turkey Hill stores into the concept store. The CFO, Mike Schlotman, has called these stores a "small test." Local reaction to this new concept has been positive.

In March 2019, Kroger announced it was expanding its service with robotics company, Nuro to Houston, Texas with Nuro's autonomous Priuses.

In August 2019, Kroger began charging customers between $0.50 and $3.50 for receiving cashback while making purchases with debit cards.

In September 2019, Kroger announced a partnership with the Plant-Based Food Association (PFBA) to test a plant-based meat retail concept in 60 stores in Denver, and parts of Indiana and Illinois.

In December 2019, Kroger was named the second-largest grocer in the nation with $110 billion in 2016 sales.

Kroger provided their essential workers a "hazard pay"—that the company called a "hero pay"—in the form of US$ 2 dollars an hour raise from the end of March 2020, until mid-May, 2020, when the "hero pay" ended.

In 2020, during the pandemic, Kroger's earnings increased by 87.7%.

On August 2, 2021, Kroger announced that it had elected Elaine Chao, formerly Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and Secretary of Transportation under President Donald Trump, to its board of directors.

On September 23, 2021, a mass shooting occurred at a Kroger location in Collierville, Tennessee.

In September 2021, Kroger tweaked its logo to add the "Fresh Cart" symbol. The symbol is an abstract shopping cart with the basket being citrus slices.

Kroger has also gained popularity due to one of its advertisements becoming a meme in early 2021.

In October 2021, Kroger announced an expansion into South Florida with its online delivery service, 'Kroger Delivery'.