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TheDeal.com reports that some analysts believe that it will be difficult for Ahold to sell its more than 200 convenience stores in upstate and western New York, regardless of the company's motivations for bailing out of the c-store business in the region.

For example, Burt Flickinger, of the Strategic Resources Group, told TheDeal that Ahold probably is getting out because of a planned Wal-Mart invasion of the region. If this is accurate, knowledge of Wal-Mart's plans may not make Ahold's c-stores a hot commodity. Besides, Flickinger notes, Wal-Mart is expanding its commitment to the c-store/gasoline sector, which creates additional competitive issues.

Other analysts believe that Ahold simply needs to get out of non-core businesses and generate cash that it can use to pay down its debt.
KC's View:
We actually think both perspectives are right - Ahold wants out of non-core businesses, needs cash, and wants to bail before Wal-Mart comes to town and drives the value of its c-properties into the ground.

The interesting thing to consider is that Wal-Mart reportedly wants to own more than a third of the nation's gasoline market by 2010, and is opening more than 150 c-stores/gas station in its own parking lots this year. That's a strong strategic commitment…but you have to wonder why Ahold doesn't see the fact that it already has 200 such properties in one region as a competitive strength around which it could build its core business.

It's a difference, we suppose, in how one views the competitive landscape. Wal-Mart goes one way, Ahold goes another.

The question is which one you’d bet on at this particular moment.