retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Tampa Bay Times reports that Publix has "tightened its coupon policy … to discourage shoppers from overusing coupons and buying up everything on a shelf.

"Among the changes, Publix now limits shoppers to using eight of the same coupons per day, per household. It defines a household as a single family, meaning you can't have your 3-year-old hand coupons to the cashier at checkout. The guidelines also limit dollars-off coupons to one Publix and one competitor's coupon per day, per household. All coupons must be original, not copied, and any individual coupon for more than $5 must receive a manager's approval."

Company officials told the paper that "the changes were made based on customer feedback and research, but declined to elaborate. Even some coupon fans have complained about coupon abuse, which ultimately could result in higher prices for shoppers overall."


Reuters reports that British supermarket chain Morrisons is launching its first loyalty card program today, "opening up a new front in an escalating price war with a scheme that guarantees to match discounters Aldi and Lidl as well as traditional rivals … The firm said on Thursday its "Match & More" price match and points card will have a phased roll out across the UK, starting on Friday … Under the scheme if a comparable basket of groceries could have been bought for less at one of Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda, Sainsbury, Aldi and Lidl, Match & More cardholders will automatically get the difference back in points on their card."

However, CEO Dalton Philips says that the company is not becoming a discounter. "Match & More is about neutralising on price, so that the rest of our offer will really shine through," he says.


MarketWatch reports that Sears Holdings said "the company expects to generate up to $380 million by selling 40 million common shares of Sears Canada Inc. via a rights offering. The sale will leave Sears with a stake of around 12 million shares, valued at $113 million."

Sears has been in the process of closing a large number of US stores as a way of cutting down on expenses, and said two weeks ago that it plans to borrow $400 million from the private hedge fund owned by its billionaire CEO, Eddie Lampert.

In other words, it is looking to generate cash that it can use to survive. Good luck with that.
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