MINNEAPOLIS -- Rainbow Foods here, a division of Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, has pulled out of a multiretailer loyalty program, giving customers until Aug. 29 to redeem all earned gift certificates. It is unclear if Rainbow will pursue a new loyalty program.
"Although we were in the Gold Points program from its inception, upon reassessment it did not fit in with our long-term marketing plans," Rainbow officials said in a statement. They could not be reached for further comment.
Rainbow, which was described as the supermarket anchoring the program, was one of more than 450 retailers participating in it, according to Sam Macalus, spokesman for Carlson Cos. here, developer of the Gold Points Plus program. Other retailers include auto parts merchants, restaurants, drug stores, convenience stores and hotels. Macalus also noted that there are currently more than 550,000 Gold Points Plus card users.
"It is a shame that Rainbow ceased its participation in the program," said Carlene Thissen, president of Retail Systems Consulting, Naples, Fla., who is familiar with the program, but not affiliated with it. "The question retailers need to ask themselves is how can they make money by launching frequent-shopper programs. It is possible that Rainbow could not."
The Gold Points Plus program, which was launched in January 1997, distinguished itself from other frequent-shopper programs by enabling cardholders to earn points upon presenting a universal card at participating retailers. Points are electronically accumulated through the network of stores. The amount of points earned through purchases varies among retailers.
When 6,250 points are earned, participants are eligible for $10 gift certificates. Similar to trading stamps, the gift certificates can be used as cash at participating retailers for travel, restaurant dining and merchandise from a gift catalog.
Though the card program lost its key supermarket, another supermarket is expected to take its place. "Our goal is to have a new supermarket retailer participating in the program within the next six months," said Douglas Cody, vice president of public relations and communications for Carlson. Carlson declined to comment on who the retailer would be, or a date when it would be live with the program.