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Kroger New Lower Prices

A single coupon policy change may be a fluke. Two is a little more troublesome, three makes it a trend, and by the time you get to four, it may be a sign that this is becoming the new normal. For the fourth time now, the country’s largest supermarket chain is ending double coupons in many of its stores.

This time, it’s in Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic region, which encompasses stores in North Carolina, Virginia, most of West Virginia, and tiny adjacent slivers of Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. Kroger plans to make a public announcement this weekend. But in a statement provided today to Coupons in the News, Kroger confirmed that it will stop doubling coupons in those stores as of Sunday, May 12th. In its place, Kroger plans to offer new lower prices throughout the store, beginning this coming Sunday, April 28th.

It’s a continuation of a trend that began two years ago. Kroger first eliminated double coupons in its Houston division in April 2011, closely followed by Dallas in September of that year. But the expected domino effect stopped there, when no other Krogers followed suit. A year later, another “surprise announcement” in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area turned out to be something else altogether. That’s where Kroger unveiled its first “New! Low Prices” program, lowering everyday prices on thousands of items (read: “Kroger Slashes Prices (For Some)”).

Then in February of this year, those two unrelated changes were rolled into one. Kroger announced it was doing away with double coupons in the Cincinnati/Dayton division – its own corporate backyard (read: “Kroger Offers New Lower Prices! Oh, And No More Double Coupons”). That had Kroger shoppers in other areas wondering if they would be next.

Wonder no more. “In an effort to provide our customers with the most value for their dollar, we are updating our coupon policy and implementing a New Lower Prices program” in the Mid-Atlantic region, Kroger is announcing. As it did in Hampton Roads, Kroger is investing millions of dollars in lower prices. And as it did in Cincinnati, Kroger is eliminating double coupons to help pay for it.

“We believe that lowering prices across the store will reward more of our loyal customers on items that they buy most often,” spokesman Carl York said. “Everyone can enjoy these savings.” Examples offered include a head of lettuce or Roma tomatoes for 99 cents, and a 100oz-sized bottle of Tide detergent for $11.99 – everyday prices that are about the same as many stores’ sale prices.

Call it the Walmart-ization of the grocery business. While grocery stores offer perks like double coupons and frequent sales, they’re losing ground to Walmart, with its everyday low prices and face-value coupon policy. So if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Food Lion, one of Kroger’s main competitors in the Mid-Atlantic region, doesn’t double coupons either. But Harris Teeter, another regional competitor, doubles and even triples coupons on occasion – like this very week. Not great timing for Kroger to announce it won’t even be doubling them soon. Many frustrated couponers will no doubt vow never to shop at Kroger again, and do business with a store that doubles and triples their coupons. Kroger is betting that the majority of its non-couponing customers, though, will stick around for the lower prices.

Kroger points out that it will still offer sales, loyalty-card savings, and perks like its fuel rewards program. But industry analyst David Livingston believes it’s the total at the bottom of your receipt that really matters. In comments directed at Safeway this week, but which could just as well apply to Kroger, he told the San Jose Mercury News that perks and rewards programs are mere “distractions”. “It confuses the customer, giving them the illusion they are getting a real discount,” he said. “It’s more psychological, which is what is needed to compete with Walmart.”

Kroger would contend that its lower prices are more than just psychological. But then psychology can come into play, when lower prices begin creeping upward over time. It’s happened before (read: “When ‘New Low Prices’ Are Neither New, Nor Low (For Long)”). That raises the possibility that many Kroger customers will ultimately see prices right back where they once were, and still no double coupons (read more about the history of double coupons here).

For now, though, pity the poor residents of Hampton Roads. As mentioned earlier, that was the first market in which Kroger introduced its new lower prices. But for all this time, double coupons remained. No longer. While the rest of the Mid-Atlantic gets the bad news/good news of no doubles but lower prices, there essentially isn’t any good news for Hampton Roads. Their prices will stay the same, but their coupon values won’t.

So if your Kroger still doubles coupons, enjoy it while it lasts. If you get word in the future of new lower prices coming to your region – you’ll know what’s coming next.


12 Comments

  1. Pingback: Kroger: Delta Region Will No Longer Double Coupons After June 26!

  2. charlene decosta says:

    I like your coupon stories. As for Las Vegas, NV, we have Smiths here. Years ago Smiths was the only store that had double coupons and that was not EVERY week. No stores in Las Vegas give double coupons. Smiths have some good offers, but must really make it up if you do all your shopping there. So I do my main shopping at WalMart, because they are just less expensive. Plus they price match if you bring an ad with you.

    • Thanks Charlene!

      It does seem kind of counterintuitive that grocery stores used to try to one-up each other with double and triple coupons when they were just competing on their own. But now with Walmart taking so much of the grocery business, you’d think supermarkets would promote double coupons as an advantage that Walmart doesn’t offer. Instead, they’re killing off double coupons and Walmart is beating them. Maybe doubles will be ripe for a comeback!

      Appreciate you reading and weighing in.

  3. im dont shopping at kroger…it has always been my favorite store, but no longer. they dont accept overages on the couponss (not looking to get cash back, but you know how overages help) and now dumping the dbl coupons??? well i have no reason to be there…i shall find someone who likes shoppers

  4. Food Lions in my region don’t need to double coupons to compete because they are placed in rural towns that can’t attract a competing chain store, making them the only chain store in 30 plus miles.

    :(

  5. Pingback: Kroger: Say Goodbye To Double Coupons In The Mid Atlantic Region

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  7. Teddie guy says:

    Love the Maysville , KY store. The ad that is put out by the Krogers store in Cincinnati area is the same as ours. A couple of weeks ago had chicken beast for .99 lb Tyson BRAND. Once got to the store was told that was ‘MISPRINT’ as Kroger brand on sell not the Tyson. Since that have not went back to the Krogers might as well go to Walmart and get it there they price match and take coupons same as Krogers does now. No need in going to Krogers can get it all at Walmart.

  8. Pingback: Kroger ending double coupons in the Mid-Atlantic Region May 12 - Real Housewives Clip Coupons

  9. Pingback: Kroger Update!! More Kroger Stores To Stop Doubling Coupons! - A Mitten Full of Savings

  10. I live in the cinci ohio region and the new lower prices seemed to last 2 weeks and then the prices creaped back to normal where they were for the most part ! The prices they put in their ad even though it says new lower prices all over it are what they are calling hot prices which is fancy for sale prices, I asked they are not new lower prices that are staying ! I have not shopped at Kroger since been staying with stores that still double and will till it ends at every store around here ! This is all my opinion but use your own judgement just be aware of previous prices.

  11. Thanks — great article, shared. Lets hope our Arizona region is not in the future plans.

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