NEW YORK — Kroger Co.’s chief financial officer on Tuesday defended the chain’s recent discontinuation of double coupons in several markets, saying the practice was “a very expensive reward proposition that a very small number of [our] customers actually engage in.”

Speaking at BMO Capital’s Farm to Market conference, Michael Schlotman said eliminating double coupons has helped the company invest in lower everyday prices that benefitted a larger group of shoppers than the chain’s heavy coupon shoppers.

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“Now, they're a very vocal part of your customer base, and they don't like it when you stop giving them that reward,” he said. “But the percentage of customers who actually enjoyed the benefit of that, our view was we were better off taking those dollars and investing them in better prices for all of our customers rather than rewarding just a select segment of our customers.”

Kroger introduced lower everyday prices to coincide with the removal of double-couponing. Kroger so far has stopped doubling coupons in Houston, Southern California, Cincinnati and most recently in the Mid-Atlantic states.

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