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Weis Markets expands in-store pick-up service to 26 locations

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets on Tuesday announced it would begin offering online shopping with in-store pick-up at its West Lawn store, marking the 26th location where this service is available.
 
“Weis Online Shopping offers our customers the best of both worlds: the in-store shopping experience with online, time-saving convenience," said Kurt Schertle, Weis Markets COO. "Our in-store personal shoppers are trained to focus on quality and customize orders,” he said. “Customers can place their orders at any time and schedule a convenient pick-up time that suits their schedule. These orders can also be ready in four hours.”
 
Weis Online Shopping allows customers to order online and either pay through a secure PayPal system or at the store with curbside checkout. Each order is handpicked in store by trained personal shoppers and then carefully stored until the time of pick-up. 
 
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Study: Consumers can’t get satisfaction

BY Dan Berthiaume

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It probably takes less to satisfy the average consumer than it does to satisfy Mick Jagger, but even still, consumers can’t seem to get any satisfaction these days. According to new data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the national level of customer satisfaction dropped 0.5% to 75.2 in fourth quarter 2014.

This is the fourth consecutive quarterly decline in customer satisfaction for the country as a whole, forecasting weak economic growth for 2015. The last time the economy grew by 4% was in the late '90s, when consumer spending increased by more than 5% per year. But in 2014, consumer spending increased by just 2.5% and GDP grew by 2.3%. Given that consumers represent about 70% of GDP, the economy cannot expand much without greater consumer demand.   

The ACSI, which measures the quality of economic output from the perspective of the consumer, shows that it may be difficult for demand to grow. According to the ACSI, deteriorating customer satisfaction shifts the demand curve downward, reducing consumer spending growth.

With overall U.S. customer satisfaction steadily deteriorating, there is little incentive for customers to increase consumption. The ACSI says that weak consumer spending, low inflation, prolonged low interest rates, declining satisfaction and a global slowdown are rarely associated with economic growth.

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Fresh & Easy to close 55 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy plans to close 55 stores, which would leave the chain with about 110 locations, the Orange Country Register reported.

Fresh & Easy is owned by the Yucaipa Cos., which bought the supermarket chain out of bankruptcy in 2013 from U.K. retailer Tesco. It operates stores in Nevada, California and Arizona.

The stores slated for closing do not meet Fresh & Easy’s new model of “modern convenience.”

"This move allows the company to redeploy capital into development and growth, including a 3,000 to 5,000 square foot store to provide a higher level of convenience and greater density,"  Fresh & Easy spokesman Brendan Wonnacott said in the report.

In a company statement, Wonnacott said Fresh & Easy is working with ADMI, the firm behind the design of the Apple Store, to design the Fresh & Easy store of the future. He described the concept as a “fresh-food convenience store.”

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