CIRCLE K ACTS MORE LIKE GROCERY STORE

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PHOENIX-Circle K Corp. hopes to show consumers that convenience doesn't always mean higher prices.

The chain is testing the replacement of miniature and trial-size grocery products typically found at its convenience stores with supermarket-size goods sold at food store prices. Grocery Express features 200 of the most popular supermarket items like spaghetti sauce and cereals. The concept is being tested at about 500 stores here and in Salt Lake City.

"We know that there is a group of consumers who use convenience stores as a place for emergency groceries," said Kevin McBride, VP-consumer marketing. "We are trying to say to them that, beyond emergency groceries, you may want to think about us as a place to buy fill-in groceries."

Circle K is promoting the test through in-store fliers, direct mail and two-for-one offers on select products. Limited TV advertising from Thomas-Tvert also supports.

The chain has also reconfigured shelving to create distinct Snack World and Beverage Depot departments. It has added products to each section.

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