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Varying news reports this morning suggest the importance that financial services are likely to play as retailers seek to enlarge their portfolios.

C-store chain 7-Eleven Inc has managed to sort out the problems it was having with its Internet-connected Vcom kiosks, and wants to become the leading national brand for people who either have no bank accounts or are “underbanked.” Four hundred of the units are expected to be in stores by the end of this year, 1,000 by March 2003, an d then with another 2,500 stores scheduled to start going online in July 2003.

And ICA Ahold, a joint venture between ICA of Sweden and Royal Ahold, is working with a Dutch insurance group to expand its financial services offerings in Norway, Denmark and the Baltic countries.
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