Kroger Plans C-Store-Rx Hybrids

The convergence of the grocery and convenience formats at Kroger here is continuing. The company last week said it would build two new Kwik Shop convenience stores in the Wichita, Kan., area that will include Dillons-branded drive-though pharmacies. Dillons is Kroger's grocery banner in Kansas. Those stores, expected to open early next year, follow the lead of a Kroger-owned Tom Thumb convenience

CINCINNATI — The convergence of the grocery and convenience formats at Kroger here is continuing.

The company last week said it would build two new Kwik Shop convenience stores in the Wichita, Kan., area that will include Dillons-branded drive-though pharmacies. Dillons is Kroger's grocery banner in Kansas.

Those stores, expected to open early next year, follow the lead of a Kroger-owned Tom Thumb convenience store in Pensacola, Fla., that added a Kroger-branded pharmacy in 2007, and a Dillons-Kwik Stop “hybrid” store that opened earlier this year in Greensburg, Kan.

Kroger operates about 800 convenience stores under the Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb, Turkey Hill, Quik Stop and Loaf n' Jug brands. It acquired those chains in the 1980s following its acquisition of Dillons, the founder of Kwik Shop. In recent years, Kroger has united those brands under common programs, logos and a shared corporate gasoline brand. More recently, the company has been positioning its c-stores so as to work in concert with grocery stores in the same market by integrating loyalty and discount programs, and in some cases, combining formats.

Earlier this month, Turkey Hill Minit Markets, Kroger's Lancaster, Pa.-based convenience chain, expanded with five new stores in the Columbus, Ohio, market. These stores would allow Kroger shoppers in the market to use gas rewards programs.

An item in the Wichita Eagle newspaper last week noted the new Kwik Stop stores will also include pilot programs for an expanded foodservice offering.

Kroger officials declined to comment to SN on the new stores.