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Weis Markets implements Price Freeze program for New Year

BY Allison Cerra

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis Markets announced it has lowered the prices on 2,600 staple items, and frozen these lower prices for 90 days through April 1, 2010. It has also moved to freeze the prices on an additional 624 products.

The overall Price Freeze item count increases to 3,224 products, up from 3,000, and includes private-label and brand name products.

The price program is being promoted in Weis Markets’ current circular, television and radio ads. Throughout stores, customers will see Price Freeze signage and shelf tags for participating items.

“It is clear our customers remain in a cautious mood due to the weak economy. Over the past year, our Price Freeze program has generated $16 million in savings for our customers,” said David J. Hepfinger, Weis Markets president and CEO. “With our current program, we have lowered the prices on thousands of our products – and have committed to maintaining these lower prices through the spring. As a result, we are able to offer our customers consistent, long-term savings and values on the products they are looking to purchase.”

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Rite Aid takes a bite out of obesity; relaunches weight-loss program for New Year

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid is once again teaming up with TV fitness expert Denise Austin and weight-loss experts Lindora Health, and also has added Harvard Medical School to the mix in the relaunch of its Rite Weight program in 2010.

At the heart of the program is a free, 16-page weight management guide with information provided by Harvard Medical School, which Rite Aid began to make available this week in more than 4,800 of its stores and online at www.riteaid.com.

The guide is designed as an easy to use resource to help dieters make tough choices and stay honest on a daily basis. Instead of relying on food scales, wallet charts or food “points,” dieters can simply use their hand as a guide for determining proper serving sizes across a variety of food groups; for example, a single serving of cheese (1 oz.) is about one finger’s worth, but for pretzels it’s two open handfuls (2 oz.).

In addition, the guide also coaches dieters on how to measure body mass index and to determine their body shape, as well as how being overweight affects their overall health. Other topics, include, the benefits of even a small weight loss, childhood obesity issues, tips for healthier eating and exercise, as well as how to keep the weight off.

In addition to the guide, Rite Aid customers can also log onto riteaid.com/riteweightplan to sign up for the free Rite Weight Plan. The online weight loss program, developed by Lindora, is designed to help participants lose as much as 10 percent of their body weight in just 10 weeks. The program relies on a series of daily e-mail alerts to promote accountability and provide positive affirmation, as well as personal access to Lindora’s team of weight-loss experts, online weight tracking and food journaling, and meal recommendations and complete menus.

Other online resources available through the program include an easy-to-adapt fitness plan developed from by Austin, nutritional tips for seniors, children and those on-the-go, a guide to understanding nutrition labels, and interactive tools like a BMI calculator and a five-minute risk assessment.

Rite Aid will also look to leverage the expertise of its pharmacists as part of the program, offering dieters personalized advice on nutrition, supplements and how losing weight can lead to significant health benefits including lowering blood pressure and the risk for diabetes.

As part of the initiative Rite Aid is offering a special promotion that rewards customers who purchase $30 or more worth of select diet and nutrition products from Dec. 27 to Jan. 23, with a free $5 gift card through its Single Check Rebate program.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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SpendingPulse data suggests U.S. retailers were on Santa’s “nice list” this year

BY Rob Eder

PURCHASE, N.Y. Yes, Virginia; there really was a Santa Claus this year.

At least that’s the story U.S. retailers were getting from early results from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse data, which showed a 3.6% bump in holiday sales this year.

The data, which excludes car and gasoline sales, measured retail sales across all forms of payment. According to SpendingPulse, the season got a boost from online shoppers and a rise in electronics purchases this year.

Important to note, momentum continued through the final week of the shopping season, even as a massive blizzard across much of the country threw a monkey wrench at retailers on Power Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, and an even more critical day for retailers than Black Friday. Clearly, the cyberpurchasing made up some of the difference, as despite the massive storm, electronics sales rose 6% in the final week of the season, according to SpendingPulse.

The SpendingPulse data is a bright spot amid other holiday spending reports and prognostications. The National Retail Federation had predicted spending to drop 1% this season. Meanwhile, the International Council of Shopping Centers called for a 2% increase in same-store sales this season.

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