Kroger Co. /zigman2/quotes/206215053/composite KR +1.38% has set a goal of 10,000 new hires when it hosts its first nationwide "hybrid" hiring event on Thursday. Taking place both in person and virtually, Kroger is searching for associates to work across e-commerce, pharmacy, operations, and other areas of the business. Kroger chains include the namesake grocer, King Soopers and Ralphs. Kroger's current average hourly wage is $15.50 per hour, and the company says and it plans to invest $350 million to increase the average wage to $16. Kroger stock has gained 22.5% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.01% is up 12.5% for the period.