business news in context, analysis with attitude

Nice column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer by Bill Virgin, noting how convenience stores in this country are under remarkable pressure to change their business model.

The problem is that "convenience stores have eight big revenue-generating product categories -- prepared food, beer, cigarettes, packaged beverages, fountain drinks, lottery tickets, candy and prepaid phone cards." But cigarettes are too politically incorrect and unhealthy to be a growth category, and most of the others are seeing single-digit growth. And c-store gasoline sales, which are an enormous revenue generator, are under pressure from the likes of Wal-Mart and Costco, which are using fuel as a traffic generator.

Among the innovations being considered by c-store chains: healthier foods, gourmet coffee stands, prepared foods and meal solutions, and even e-commerce and Internet connections that will provide new levels of convenience for consumers - all things that bring c-stores more directly into competition with the nation's supermarket industry.
KC's View:
Nothing new here…but a continual reminder of the fragmentation that is reshaping retailing.