LOS ANGELES -- Albertsons has become a leader in harnessing the appeal of dollar store formats with a massive "10 for $10" promotion. Other retailers around the country are trying similar tactics to get shoppers to pantry-load while staving off alternate-format competition.
The Boise, Idaho-based operator has been rolling out its "Mix & Match" promotion nationwide, one of 30 programs aimed at boosting Center Store sales. Cincinnati-based Kroger, meanwhile, is running similar promotions in some of Albertsons' Western markets. Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., ran a column of "Ten for $10" national- and store-brand items in a June 13 circular.
"The dollar stores are out there," said Regina Tator, category manager for private label at Price Chopper, explaining the chain's first use of the promotion.
Retailers are heading toward a day when they can target shoppers with customized offers. Yet as the use of 10 for $10 promotions show, mass-targeted deals remain a popular way to build store traffic.
Manufacturers like 10 for $10 sales because they get exposure, often in the front of the store, said Jim Norred, president, The J. Brown Agency, Plano, Texas, which designs retail marketing programs for such clients as Del Monte, Kraft Foods and Dannon.
"They're selling high visibility and off-shelf activity," he said. His local Albertsons will display sale items in the front of the store, he said, so that when a customer enters, "The 10 for $10 hits you right in the face."
Manufacturers also like such deals because they don't require as much promotional support as buy-one, get-one free programs do.
Items in Los Angeles-based Ralphs Grocery's sale included canned tuna and two-liter bottles of Pepsi, for example. The 72-hour sale, in effect throughout its roughly 325 California stores, was the Kroger unit's second such promotion this year, a Ralph's spokesman said. Albertsons' sale items included six- to six-and-a-half-ounce bags of Life Savers and 32-ounce bottles of Powerade sports drinks.
The 10 for $10 sale has spawned variations. Kroger's King Soopers, Denver, and City Market, Grand Junction, Colo., ran a 5 for $5 sale on produce items like one-pound packages of bagged salad and four-ounce trays of sliced mushrooms. Pathmark Stores, the independent operator based in Woodbridge, N.J., devoted an entire page in a recent circular to pantry items for 99 cents apiece.
Retailers varied in the amount of price comparison information listed in their 10 for $10 ads. A recent ad from Kroger's Fry's Food and Drug Stores in Tolleson, Ariz., listed the regular price without club card on its sale items, which included 11.5- to 13-ounce cans of Kroger premium coffee (regular price $2.99) and a four-roll pack of bath tissue (regular price $1.59).
While they're good for "trying to take people out of the market, I don't think you can rely on it for your lead strategy," said Joe Robinson, senior partner, Ryan Partnership, a marketing services firm based in Wilton, Conn.