Asda has today announced that it will no longer roll out its petrol station convenience format. Coming close on the heels of the sale of M Local by Morrisons we now have a situation where two of the big four players (Tesco and Sainsbury) have a convenience store business and two don't (Asda and Morrisons).
The decision by each of Asda and Morrisons is driven by a desire to focus on the superstore format. With superstores still accounting for over 75% of grocery sales in the UK, that might seem like a logical decision. But is it the correct one?
The answer to that question is not yet known and although there are good arguments to be made about the cost and scale efficiencies of a superstore portfolio, that counts for little if shoppers go elsewhere; and recently shoppers have been drifting away to other formats and the internet.
What is clear is that there is now open water between the strategies of Tesco & Sainsbury when compared to Asda and Morrisons.