Kroger said yesterday that it is exploring strategic alternatives for its 780-unit convenience store business, and has hired Goldman Sachs to help it with a possible sale. Kroger’s c-stores do approximately $4 billion in sales annually.

"Considering the current premium multiples for convenience stores, we feel it is our obligation as a management team to undertake a review," says Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman.

The announcement came at an annual investor meeting in New York, where Kroger unveiled what it is calling its “Restock” program - spending $9 billion over the next three years on capital projects and improved employee compensation, while cutting costs in certain business segments, all as a way of building up a strong defense against all the new and insurgent competition it is facing from both bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce companies.

We have the scale, the data, the physical assets and human connection to win," said CEO Rodney McMullen. "Restock Kroger builds on our strengths and strategically repositions Kroger to accelerate our customer-centered efforts in order to create shareholder value.”

KC's View: It seems pretty clear that Kroger is moving a bunch of pieces around the board, with the understanding that it cannot stand pat in any way, shape or form if it wants to continue to be competitive. I agree with McMullen’s observation that the company has “the scale, the data, the physical assets and human connection” to be competitive, though I suspect that one of the continuing challenges that it faces - along with other companies of its size - is how to move faster and faster in making those advantages work for it. Speed, it seems to me, has to be added to the list of competitive advantages.