INDIANAPOLIS -- Triple couponing has hit this market following the opening of two more Meijer hypermarkets here in August. In a market already heating up with promotions, Meijer, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based chain, has launched a triple-couponing program that has drawn a response from Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. Meijer now has four stores in the area, with more expected next year.
In full-page ads with bold headlines, Meijer is declaring it will pay triple value on any six manufacturer coupons valued at up to 35 cents. It also offered double values on all manufacturer coupons up to 50 cents.
The triple deal is contingent on consumers clipping a Meijer coupon from food advertisements in a local newspaper. The Meijer coupon makes shoppers eligible for the six manufacturer coupon redemptions. Kroger has responded by announcing in ads it will "redeem any competitor's triple manufacturer's coupon," a reference to the Meijer program.
A Meijer spokesman declined comment on company promotions, and Kroger officials couldn't be reached for comment. Meijer, which first entered the market last spring, hopes to achieve a 25% share of market here within three years, according to market sources. While the triple couponing has increased local competition, Meijer's entry heated the promotional landscape even before the latest coupon battle began. Kroger and another market leader, Marsh Supermarkets here, recently have been running ads with copious amounts of buy-one-get-one-free items, and Kroger is offering airline discounts for grocery purchases.
Joseph Lackey, president of the Indiana Retail Grocers Association, said that while promotions in the market have been heating up, they are not to be compared with the price wars of 1983 when Cub Foods came to town. Trade sources note that in the latest market skirmish, the latter firm has stopped short of making blanket low-price claims -- relying instead on a few hot specials and buy-one-get-one-free items.
Meijer's promotional campaign also encompasses its drug departments. The firm offered consumers up to $25 off on a new or transferred prescription.