Starting next month, Kroger stores in North Carolina will no longer double the value of manufacturer coupons, a move that has disappointed many shoppers.
The grocery chains Facebook page was flooded over the weekend with mostly negative comments, with several posters referencing J.C. Penneys problems after it stopped its coupon program. Others said theyd be switching their allegiance.
In the Triangle, the chain runs the risk of those shoppers turning to competing chains Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods, both of which aggressively advertise double-coupon promotions.
Kroger spokesman Carl York said in an email that stores in the chains Mid-Atlantic region would stop doubling coupons as of May 12.
Krogers Mid-Atlantic region includes North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
We will continue to accept manufacturer coupons and other coupons at face value, York said in the email.
The decision to halt double coupons comes three months after Cincinnati-based Kroger discontinued the practice of doubling the value of coupons in its home market of Cincinnati, along with neighboring markets in Dayton and Northern Kentucky.
Kroger, the nations largest grocery chain, had previously pulled the plug on doubling coupons in parts of Texas and California.
After closing two under-performing stores earlier this year, Kroger operates 14 stores in the Triangle.
Supermarket industry analyst Phil Lempert called Krogers decision a critical move because the doubled portion of coupons is paid for by grocery chains, not the manufacturers.
Lempert, who edits the website supermarketguru.com, said in an email that other grocery chains will likely follow suit, offering other value venues like flash sales, or certain items on sale deep-discounted for a period of time.
York, the Kroger spokesman, said the chain will focus instead on offering customers lower prices on key items.
York said Kroger would be investing additional resources into lowering prices for our customers on everyday items.
He said the chain would also be focusing more on digital coupons, fuel and pharmacy savings, and special coupon mailings sent to loyal customers.
We believe that lowering prices across the store will reward more of our loyal customers on items that they buy most often, York said.