WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. -- Edwards Super Food Stores here is building center store sales by offering consumers a $15 discount if they use the chain as their primary grocery store for five of six weeks.
To participate, consumers have to shop Edwards for five of six weeks, spending at least $40 during a single visit each week. Cards consumers received in the mail or picked up in the store had a box for each week of the promotion, which ends July 6. After five of the six boxes are validated by a cashier, the shopper will receive $15 off their next order.
Tonya Lyon, Edwards' consumer affairs manager, told SN the promotion was chainwide and has been used in the past with "very successful" results.
However, it is in northern New Jersey where the promotion may be making the most waves. Last year, Edwards' parent, Ahold USA, acquired the Mayfair Super Markets chain and converted it from the Foodtown banner to Edwards -- touting them as the low-price leader -- and touching off a major price war with ShopRite, Pathmark, A&P and Grand Union.
"So far the response from our [New Jersey] customers has been very positive. Our initial findings from our consumer research department look good, and we look forward to keep seeing that trend," Lyon said when asked about Edwards' entry into the Garden State.
She said the $15 rebate event is being merchandised in-store with window and register
signs and buttons the cashiers wear. The front page of the weekly circular was also devoted to the promotion.
"We'll give you $15 to prove that we're the true low price leader," a banner headline on Edwards' weekly circular read.
Local observers told SN that Edwards has been heavily advertising its New Jersey stores and emphasizing several grocery areas, including soft drinks and paper goods. In addition to the $15 promotion, the chain has been advertising on television and also is running a promotion offering discounted prices on TWA airplane tickets.
"I went in there Memorial week and the store traffic was very heavy," one local observer noted. "They were serving root beer floats in the store made with A&W root beer. It was a hot day and it was kind of refreshing to get that. They were doing demos in the store and I had not run into demos in any of the other stores that I went into that weekend. Their prices also looked like they were very aggressive in the marketplace.
"They have the lowest soda prices in town," he added. "I had a big event over the weekend with my kids, so I stocked up on a trunk full."
Observers said that while Edwards actually is more expensive on many items than ShopRite and Pathmark, it has shrewdly chosen which items to feature at lower prices.
"ShopRite has been pushing more towards bulk items, but Edwards, at least with their Bonus Buys, appears to be pushing smaller items, like a four-roll tissue instead of the 24-roll, which Wakefern was promoting. Edwards features a single-roll paper towel compared to six rolls and greater at Wakefern. That is a big difference in terms of pricing," he said.