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The Seattle Times reports that competition among Albertsons, Safeway and Kroger-owned QFC in its home market means that all of the combatants are looking for any and all advantages -- installing gas stations, putting in coffee bars, building private label programs, or offering banking services.

In fact, according to the Times, it has gotten to the point that the battle is rarely about groceries, as the chains realize that it is by offering new and different products and services, not just cutting prices, that they will be able to attract and retain customers.
KC's View:
Which is smart. The only thing we would argue is that somebody has to break the mold at some point and separate from the pack, offering a product/service that nobody else it, and that consumers will flock to even if they didn’t realize they wanted or needed it.