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Winn-Dixie pumps up Fuelperks! program

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores on Tuesday expanded the discounts earned through its Fuelperks! program beginning April 13 by lifting previous one-item limit restrictions on bonus Fuelperks! rewards items.

The retailer said if a customer purchases three of any particular bonus Fuelperks! rewards items, they now will earn a 15-cent-per-gallon discount for that transaction, rather than only a 5-cent-per-gallon discount. That could become a significant incentive to make Winn-Dixie a one-stop-shop as the average cost of gas creeps toward more than $4 per gallon.

“Many of our customers are telling us they are saving 50 to 75 cents per gallon or more by shopping at Winn-Dixie,” stated Mary Kellmanson, Winn-Dixie’s group VP marketing.

The Fuelperks! program at Winn-Dixie serves as a solution for many local motorists with the increase in gasoline prices, which have risen nearly 20 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to an average of $3.77 per gallon nationwide, the grocer stated. For every $50 in qualified purchases, a 5-cent-per-gallon discount on fuel is earned and redeemable on a single fill-up, up to 20 gallons, at any one of more than 500 participating Shell stations.

Additionally, Fuelperks! are stackable — the more shoppers spend, the more they earn. For example, if a customer spends $100, they will earn a 10-cent-per-gallon discount; if they spend $150, they earn a 15-cent-per-gallon discount, etc.

With a number of different bonus Fuelperks! rewards items each week, shoppers can quickly increase their savings, earning 25- to 50-cent-per-gallon discounts or more with that $50 purchase. Bonus items that are earned in varying ratios (earn 5 cents on the purchase of two) still will require customers to purchase the two items to receive the discount. Customers also may continue to purchase multiple offers in a single transaction.

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U.S. retail sales experience slight rise in March

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales edged up slightly from last month to $389.3 billion, an increase of 0.4%, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday.

The increase marks the ninth consecutive month sales have risen, which could indicate that an economic recovery is under way; however, many fear that looming gas and food prices could impact future months.

The government agency also noted that retail sales experienced a 7.1% jump above the year-ago period, while total sales from January to March were 8.1% above the same period last year. Across retail sectors, grocery stores during the month of March rose 0.3% to nearly $45.6 million, up from $41.8 million in February, while health and personal care stores saw a 10.8% surge in sales, raking in $23.9 million for the month.

Although advanced estimates for pharmacies and drug stores are not included in the report, the U.S. Census Bureau noted sales for the sector dropped about $1.1 million to $18.1 million in February.

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Walmart, Sears support troops with employment promises

BY Gail Hoffer

BENTONVILLE, Ark. and HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Walmart and Sears Holdings have both announced their commitment to helping military members maintain employment when moving from one community to another.

The commitment is in line with the new Joining Forces initiative, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to raise awareness around the challenges that military personnel and their spouses endure when moving from one community to another.

To learn more about the Joining Forces initiative, click here.

Walmart pledged its support of the Joining Forces campaign by announcing the launch of its military family promise. The commitment guarantees a job at a nearby store or club for all military personnel and military spouses employed at Walmart and Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the U.S. military.

In addition, through Walmart and Sam’s Club’s Military Family Promise, associates called to active military duty will continue to be paid any difference in their salary if the associate is earning less money during their military assignment.

"As one of the nation’s largest employers of veterans, we applaud the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s continued leadership when it comes to honoring and supporting our nation’s heroes," said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. "With our presence in communities across the U.S., we are in a unique position to make a difference on issues that matter most to the military and veteran communities. We know an underserved yet critical need is access to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for military spouses and those returning home from duty. This commitment will help ease the burden of relocation and decrease the financial strain so many military families feel when they are moved to a new part of the country."

In support of the Joining Forces initiative, Sears has launched the "permanent change of duty station" promise, which helps military associates and spouses employed by Sears Holdings secure job transfers.

"The Sears Holdings PCS Promise for our military associates and their spouses was specifically created to identify new opportunities for our heroes to continue leading successful careers, regardless of their location," said Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO of Sears Holdings. "And it is an honor to offer this promise at the same time that Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden are leading the charge in the Joining Forces initiative, which is committed to providing heroes the support and opportunity they deserve."

According to Sears Holdings, under the PCS promise, it will do everything in its power to give military associates who are employed by the retailer a job at a Sears, Kmart or Lands’ End store convenient to their new location.

In addition, Sears Holdings said it also will conduct a virtual career fair for military spouses this summer that will enable them to connect online with other military spouses currently employed with the company and get information on employment opportunities at nearly 4,000 store locations.

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