Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
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Kroger says it will reduce prices, quit doubling coupons

The Kroger Co.’s Columbus division, which includes the Toledo area, announced today that it is enacting an extensive price lowering policy that will cut the prices of thousands of items the grocer sells from a few cents in some cases to a few dollars in others.

However, the move comes at a price — the retailer will eliminate its policy of double coupons, effective May 1.

Kroger said it will continue to redeem manufacturer’s coupons, valid printed coupons, and electronic coupons at their face value.

Kroger, the dominant supermarket chain in the Toledo area with 17 stores, said it plans to have its price cuts in place by Wednesday. The company started reducing prices on some items on March 3.

Not all items Kroger sells will be reduced in price. The company said it did research to select items most frequently found in the average customer’s shopping cart.

Specifically, the price-cutting program will include a significant number of reductions in produce, natural foods, and organic foods, categories where Kroger said it has seen a dramatic rise in sales.

Natural food sales, for example, have more than doubled in the last four years, Kroger said.

Kroger said that using four examples of its cost-cutting program, customers would save 30 cents per pound on Roma tomatoes, 20 cents on an 18-ounce package of Oreo cookies, 30 cents on a 28-ounce jar of Kroger brand peanut butter, and $1.90 on a 17.6-ounce package of Kibbles ‘N Bits dog food.

To help offset its price-cutting initiative, the chain said it made the decision to quit doubling coupons. Kroger said it began the practice of giving double value on coupons decades ago at a time when online and electronic coupon options did not exist and handheld devices and smartphones had not been invented.

Kroger said its research shows that currently fewer than 2 percent of all its customers are “heavy coupon users” and 86 percent do not use double coupons at all.

The company said its investment in lowering prices will total three times the value currently received by customers who use double coupons.

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