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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Giant Eagle stores there has announced a new series of price cuts, as the chain “makes its case for being a part of the solution to household budget woes -- not part of the problem.”

According to the story, “This is the chain's sixth round of price cuts this year … and follows five years of price tag trimming in other parts of the store that Giant Eagle claims add up to $240 million in customer savings on more than 15,000 items … In a recent company survey, officials found approximately 90 percent of customers use its sales circular at least once a month, with most using it weekly. They've also seen shoppers using more coupons, and they know that saving money is crucial to worried consumers.”

The Columbus Dispatch writes that the cuts were a competitive imperative: “Giant Eagle this summer was among the major grocers - including Kroger, Walmart and Meijer - that reduced prices on certain staples such as milk and eggs.” And the Dispatch notes that “to promote the price reduction … Giant Eagle representatives are embarking on a 20-city tour, said spokesman Rob Borella. During the tour, members of its ‘Savings Squad’ will offer consumers tips on how to save, not only in the grocery store but on home energy costs and other personal-finance topics, he said.”

While some of the competition suggests that all the price cuts mean that Giant Eagle was too high-priced all along, the chain argues that it has been pulling out all the stops to find ways to cut costs and prices: “Examples of ways the company found to cut costs include replacing coffee cups at corporate headquarters with cheaper ones,” the Post-Gazette writes. “Inventories have been reduced in the warehouses with better point-of-sale systems helping stores buy products more efficiently. The grocer changed in-store music suppliers.

“About 80 positions were cut this summer at the headquarters and yesterday the company eliminated another 46 store-level human resources positions chainwide. Nine of those were in Pittsburgh-area stores. Even the purchase of a water bottling operation in Westmoreland County has helped by allowing Giant Eagle to serve as its own supplier.”
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