To hear some grocery stores tell it, double coupons are a promotional perk that has reached its expiration date. A long and growing list of stores have done away with doubles in recent years – and some haven’t necessarily had the kindest things to say about their couponing customers in the process.

But don’t tell that to grocery stores or shoppers in the Northeastern U.S. They’re enjoying better double coupon policies than ever before.

Bucking the trend of ditching (or even begrudgingly continuing) double coupons, the Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets is actually improving its double coupon program. And at a time when the phrase “coupon friendly” isn’t always what it seems, Weis actually appears to want to attract couponers.

While Weis’ coupon policy had previously varied from store to store, it has now unveiled a chainwide policy applicable to all 204 of its stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Delaware. The highlight is that coupons with a value up to and including 99 cents will be doubled. Previously, most stores would only double coupons valued at up to 50 cents, and augment other coupons’ value to a dollar.

In other words, if you had a coupon for 75 cents, it used to “double” only to $1. Now it really will double, to $1.50. It may not be a revolutionary change – but it’s certainly coupon-friendly.

“A significant number of our customers use coupons,” Weis spokesman Dennis Curtin told Coupons in the News. “Our new policy helps us increase our overall value proposition with an important and durable part of our customer base.”

“Important and durable” – that’s a rather different take than that of some other grocers, who have not seemed all that interested in attracting or appeasing couponers. When Kroger was in the midst of discontinuing doubles region by region (before finally ending them for good last year), CFO Michael Schlotman said double coupon fans were “a very vocal part of your customer base, and they don’t like it when you stop giving them that reward. But… our view was we were better off taking those dollars and investing them in better prices for all of our customers rather than rewarding just a select segment of our customers.”

Other grocers who followed Kroger’s lead in dropping double coupons justified their decision by claiming that only a tiny percentage of their customers even took advantage of doubles.

Maybe because they only doubled coupons worth 50 cents or less, like it was 1973 or something. Many double coupon policies haven’t exactly changed with the times. So Kroger and others chose to retire their double coupon policies once they became outdated.

But others have chosen to modernize theirs. Weis’ policy of doubling coupons up to 99 cents actually now brings it in line with various regional competitors like Giant, Stop & Shop, ShopRite and Wegmans, all of which do the same thing.

So if you’re a double coupon fan who likes to have a choice in where you shop, it looks like the Northeast is the place to be.

It’s worth noting, then, that Kroger has stores all over the country – but not in the Northeast. As America’s largest traditional grocery chain, Kroger’s move to end double coupons empowered smaller competitors across the country to do the same. But without any Kroger stores in the Northeast, no one there has publicly pondered a future without double coupons – or at least no one wants to be the first to do away with them.

Instead, at least one grocer is now making its double coupon policy even better. So don’t sound the death knell for double coupons just yet. It just might be a promotional perk that’s poised for a comeback.

2 Comments

  1. What drives me up a wall is that the manufacturers don’t take the hit for doubled coupons – it’s the grocery store. So why do manufacturers put “do not double” on their coupons and why won’t stores double them anyway??? It’s getting to the point where all stores can offer double coupons, but it won’t matter because all coupons’ll say, “do not double”.

  2. I primarily thank Shoprite for this not Weis. Their low prices and coupon doubling policy keeps local competition alive.

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