GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spartan Stores here said it has begun testing a loyalty card for the first time in one market in northern Michigan.
“We have a little bit of a blind spot as it relates to our customers today, and we think this is the right approach at the right time, and we're excited to get it kicked off,” said Dennis Eidson, president and chief executive officer, in a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth-quarter results. “We expect this program to garner much richer insights of our consumer preferences and purchasing behavior, which will allow us to be even more effective with our marketing, merchandising and pricing strategies.”
He said the company plans to roll the “yes card” program out to all 34 of its Glen's banner stores by the end of the second quarter.
Spartan also said it has been seeking to offer discounts for economically distressed customers in other ways as well, including expanding its private-label assortments and going EDLP on some key items.
The company said fourth-quarter net income rose about 9.9%, to $8.9 million, which it attributed in part to growth in private-label sales.
Sales in the quarter were up 1.9%, to $581.3 million. Retail sales were up 21.5%, to $332 million, due primarily to the VG's acquisition and the 1.2% gain in comparable-store sales, excluding fuel sales and the impact of Easter.
Fourth-quarter retail operating earnings were $2.7 million, down 37.2%, which the company attributed to higher inventory charges, costs associated with the start-up of VG's and other items.