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    COMPETITIVE WATCH: Giant Food

    Company to open its first gas station; grocer expects more to come.

    LANDOVER, Md. -- Looking to join the national trend among supermarkets aiming to be a "one-stop shopping experience," Giant Food Inc. is building a gas station at one of its grocery stores and looking for opportunities to add pumps to others.

    Spokesman Jamie Miller told the Baltimore Business Journal that the grocer began construction on a gas station at its Pasadena store in early November and expects to open it in February. The self-serve station will be staffed by one person at a small kiosk and be open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Miller.

    "We're going to continue to look for ways to serve our customers and offer them convenience," Miller told the publication. He declined to detail any plans for other gas stations in the area, citing competition as the reason.

    Giant -- the region's largest grocer with 113 stores in Maryland -- isn't the first supermarket chain with operations in the area to diversify its offerings. Safeway Inc. has gas stations at 10 of its 75 Maryland stores and 350 gas stations nationwide, company spokesman Gregory TenEyck said, adding that the supermarket offers a 10-cent discount per gallon of gas when customers spend at least $50 on groceries.

    "When you can provide a one-stop shopping experience, it helps attract and retain loyal customers," TenEyck said. "We definitely have an aggressive program to build more fuel centers everywhere we possibly can."

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