Grocery has become a vast industry. With the countless brands, set-ups, and in-store offerings, the grocery sector has now come to encompass far more than just bread, fruits and vegetables. Interestingly, this ever-expanding sector has almost always had a hand in the fuel industry as well, a role that, over the last few years, is steadily increasing. As far as CPG trends go, the link between gas and convenience is as strong as ever.
Gas chains, those offering a place to not only refuel the car but also the pantry, are being bought up by grocery stores looking to expand their opportunities.
Check out this recent Canadian Grocer article, ‘Grocers step on the gas.’ According to the article, “Recent selloffs by oil giants and other companies have opened up further opportunities (for grocery chains). The biggest trade happened earlier this year when Imperial Oil got out of the gas station business by selling its last 497 filling stations and the On the Run/Marche Express c-store network.” Several of these were bought by convenience giant Alimentation Couche-Tard.
People want quick convenience, and fuel stops that offer food are the best of both worlds. Many grocery chains have taken this to heart.
As the article notes, there has been a great deal of movement in the industry.
Sobeys has become a big player in a short time. In the summer of 2011, Sobeys owned only about a dozen gas bars in Atlantic Canada, but a buyout of Shell outlets garners the company another 250 in Quebec and the Atlantic region and now there are more than 350 east of Ontario.
That being said, other chains are going against the grain. Loblaws, a fixture in the gas world for some time, put its network of 212 filling stations up for sale in May, looking towards a more grocery-focussed vision for the future.
Want to stay up to date on the latest CPG trends? Storesupport has you covered. Find out more by visiting www.storesupport.ca.