ating a trend in loss-leading that some meat merchandisers quietly wish would end, supermarkets this holiday season are literally giving away turkeys in markets across the nation.
A spot check of supermarket ads nationally showed some stores leaning away from deep discounting of birds, and instead choosing the option of offering free turkeys to customers in return for hitting various spending levels over limited periods.
For example, some Super Fresh, A&P and A&P Food Mart stores in the Montvale, N.J.-based A&P chain, and some ShopRite Supermarkets stores supplied by wholesaler Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J., are taking the lead in trading turkeys for sales.
However, many other store ads checked by SN indicated that plenty of retailers are sticking with discounting the holiday birds.
In weekly circulars distributed in northern New Jersey and suburban New York counties, ShopRite stores offered a free 20-pound turkey in return for $250 in spending between Oct. 13 and Nov. 9.
A&P stores in metropolitan New York offered a free Wampler Longacre turkey in return for $400 in sales between Oct. 13 and Nov. 16 if customers used the chain's Bonus Savings Club Card.
Super Fresh stores in Central New Jersey, meanwhile, offered the same deal for a 20-pound Wampler Longacre bird between Oct. 27 and Nov. 30.
And A&P Food Markets in Atlanta offered similar deals on Riverside or Norbest brand turkeys for $250 in sales between Oct. 27 and Nov. 30. The stores alternatively offered 40 cents off a Swift or Purdue branded turkey.
Using a more traditional marketing method, Fry's Food Stores of Arizona, a division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati, is selling their birds for 39 cents per pound with a $10 purchase, and promises to refund the difference if Arizona competitors Smith Food & Drug Centers, Salt Lake City; Smitty's Super Valu, Phoenix; Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif; Albertson's, Boise, Idaho; Bashas' Markets, Chandler, Ariz.; or Abco Foods, Phoenix, advertise a lower price.
Stores in the Woodbridge, N.J.-based Pathmark Stores chain, meanwhile, are offering a hybrid deal, selling store-branded frozen turkeys for 49 cents per pound to consumers who spend an additional $25 while shopping.