Is diversification causing retailers to become distracted from the core?

If you think back not too long ago the ‘big shop’ was a weekly event that involved just one thing shopping for consumables. Back in the day the supermarket or retailer was very good at what they did, in other words selling consumable products well, this was their key and only focus.
However has the need to ever increase profits and thus the evolution in to other non-core areas such as banking, insurance etc. meant that what they have done is to take their eye of the ball? Or in other words lose focus on their core competence that allowed them to be great in the first place?

Most major traditional retailers are facing extreme competition from low cost retailers, however in my mind there is one thing that the low cost giants have and that is a focus on what they are really good at. You see they sell consumables really well (yes I know they sell some odd ball other products too, usually in the centre aisles) they don’t get distracted by adding branded ‘bolt on’ services to their range. In essence they are finely tuned to the reasons why their customers shop with them and they never lose sight of this.
Just a thought..

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