In an effort to make grocery shopping easier and more affordable, Kroger announced a plan to lower prices on items throughout the stores and end their double coupon policy in Michigan. They are planning a store-wide change in their 126 Michigan stores, resulting in lower prices on items throughout the store to help customers save money without the use of double coupons. They will continue to accept all coupons at face value.
Kroger made the announcement on Friday that changes will be coming to its Michigan stores as of May 14. Until now, the chain of grocery stores has offered double the face value of coupons up to 50 cents and in some instances, they doubled coupons up to one dollar.
The double coupons were a way of luring in customers and remaining competitive against other grocery chains several decades ago. It was a time when newspaper delivery was common and clipping printed coupons was a good way for customers to save money. Times have changed, however. Kroger president, Jayne Homco, stated that fewer than one percent of their customers use traditional coupons. Meijer also recognized this pattern and did away with their double coupon policy last year.
Thought Walmart and Kmart chose not to participate in doubling coupons, they have been able to maintains lower prices than most of their competitors. Meanwhile, Busch’s, Hillers and Spartan grocery stores continue to honor the practice.
Kroger made the planned changes public on their Facebook page on Friday. They highlighted all the ways that customers can save, despite their plan to end double coupons. Of which, they noted the use of digital coupons, which can be loaded onto the Kroger card by visiting their website, earning fuel points to save on Kroger gas purchases and customizable coupons that are mailed to customers based on the items they buy the most.
The reaction from Kroger’s Facebook fans seemed to be split. On one hand, some customers were upset over their decision to end double coupons because they relied on the savings for their weekly grocery shopping and the change will alter their grocery budget in a big way. Some of which cited the double coupon policy as the only reason they still shopped at Kroger, claiming that without the added coupon savings the store would be more expensive than its competitors.
On the other hand, there are many customers who are relieved that the Michigan stores plan to end the double coupons because it ruins their shopping experience. Many showed concern over the extreme couponers who abused the system and would buyout everything on the shelf when using coupons to maximize their savings and get a huge amounts of products for next to nothing. The problem is that store shelves are left empty for everyday shoppers and it does not make the company any money. These customers welcome the ability to buy items at a lower price without the use of double coupons.
This is not the first state to implement these changes, so it was almost inevitable that they expand the changes nationwide. Ohio stores saw the changes last year and Texas stores rolled out their changes as early as 2011. In addition to putting an end to double coupons and lowering prices in their Michigan stores, Kroger will switch their weekly ad change from Mondays to Wednesdays.
By Tracy Rose