Not to be undone by other discount retailers like Wal-Mart, Home Depot has announced at a meeting with investors recently that the company plans to open 4 gas station/convenience stores over the next six months, presumably in its parking lots to attract customers to the store more often. Wal-Mart and other discounters have been building gas stations for roughly a decade, so Home Depot is a late entrant to this market. The company told investors it could have as many as 300 gas stations and C stores by the year 2010. The Home Depot gas stations will simply be called Fuel. How creative.
Now all the gas station owners who paid no attention to Home Depot locations, and didn’t lift a finger to help their local hardware stores, or paint stores, or garden centers, are now going to lose market share where it hurts. No doubt other merchants in the area who have already been hurt by the “category killer” won’t lift a finger to help the gas stations owners who ignored their fellow local merchants in the past. Meanwhile, consumers are flooded with gas stations, and the environmental threat of adding more redundant gas stations makes this Fuel idea just plain fuelish. Hopefully local Planning and Zoning boards will reject these undesirable land uses.