Kroger says it may sell its 780 convenience stores

(WISH photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Supermarket operator Kroger says it is considering selling its gas station convenience stores, such as KwikShop, Loaf ‘N Jug and Turkey Hill Minit Markets.

Kroger Co. says the business, which has more than 780 stores and 11,000 employees, would be more valuable outside of the company. A sale would leave Kroger with about 2,800 supermarkets.

Shares of the Cincinnati-based company soared nearly six percent to $21.71 in morning trading Wednesday.

Grocery store operators have been under pressure after Amazon.com Inc. bought Whole Foods this summer. Some expect that the online retail giant will shake up how people buy groceries. On Wednesday, Kroger said it would expand self-checkout registers from 20 supermarkets to 400 by next year.