Kroger says it will stop doubling and tripling certain coupons at North Texas stores, effective Wednesday.
The grocery stores will continue to accept manufacturer coupons at face value, but the company wants to re-channel the expense into lowering prices, said Gary Huddleston, director of consumer affairs for Kroger's Southwest division.
"We have lowered a number of prices over the last six months," Huddleston said.
Kroger eliminated the practice in Houston this year. For example, a customer using a 40-cents-off coupon on a bottle of orange juice might have received 80 cents off with double coupons. Now she receives just the 40-cent discount.
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Huddleston said prices will be cut for groceries, meat and, "in some cases, produce."
Will the exchange be a wash on a typical basket of groceries?
"If the customer uses a large number of manufacturer coupons, it may not be," Huddleston said. "If the customer is not a coupon customer, they may benefit from having lower prices every day in our stores."
Huddleston stressed that customers will still see numerous other promotions, including sales, fuel discounts and pharmacy deals.
Kroger also continues to expand digital delivery of coupons that can be loaded onto Kroger Plus cards and exchanged at the stores.
"We think that's the wave of the future," Huddleston said. "There's going to be more coupons delivered that way. [Shoppers] don't have to clip coupons. They don't have to remember coupons. They just have to come to the store."
Kroger fans lit up social networking sites and chat rooms with the news after the company announced the move in newspaper ads. Kroger has doubled and tripled manufacturer coupons locally for 10 years, Huddleston said.
In Houston, "we did get feedback from customers who were high coupon users," he said. "We told them we were going to focus on lowering prices, and, for the most part, customers have understood and accepted it" and benefited.
Some of Kroger's competitors, including Albertsons and Tom Thumb, continue to selectively double and triple manufacturer coupons.
Tom Thumb, for one, doubles up to 50 cents and triples up to 39 cents locally.