HOUSTON -- Randalls Food Markets here has added an incentive for members of its frequent-shopper program, as part of its test of selling gasoline at two new supermarkets.
Members of Randalls' customer-loyalty program receive a flat cents-off discount on the per-gallon price of gasoline at the two supermarkets' fueling stations, said Michael Calbert, chief financial officer for Randalls. He added that the actual price could fluctuate based on conditions in the gasoline marketplace.
Last fall, the retailer opened fueling stations at two new stores, in Houston and Dallas. Randalls' decision to get into the fuel business came after studying the success of other fueling stations at supermarkets in Europe, according to Calbert.
Although it's still too early to tell if the program will be a success in the long term, he said, Randalls said there has been positive consumer reaction to the program, and that many members of the loyalty program have been purchasing gasoline. Calbert did not provide exact figures on the number of cardholders taking advantage of the gasoline discount offer.
"We're very pleased with all aspects of the fueling station [test sites]," he said. The stations are more than just a promotional idea, he added, noting that Randalls has seen a fair number of drive-up cash customers visiting the stations. "We see the fueling stations as a viable economic unit of the store," he added.
However, because the test locations are at new stores, Randalls has no baseline data to see if the stations have drawn in new customers or accounted for incremental sales, he explained.
In addition to the fueling stations at the two new stores, Randalls is looking to add stations to existing stores. Two more stations are scheduled to be added to existing stores in the Dallas and Houston markets; the new stations should be operational by March, he added.
Although Randalls is "constantly evaluating [the program]," according to Calbert, the retailer will wait until the test program runs its course before considering whether to roll the fueling stations out chainwide, a process that should take approximately six months.