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    COMPETITIVE WATCH:

    Meijer notifies customers of changes in gas prices in advance.

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- As a way to offer customers the chance to fill up before prices go up, Meijer supermarket stores have begun a service that will send registered users a text message to their cell phone alerting them of a change in gas prices three to four hours before the price goes into effect, reported WNDU, a local television station.

    The program, which was tested in Indianapolis, will be rolled out in May to all states the company operates in.

    "We have a lot of loyal customers not only in our station, but in our store, so any advantage we can give them to save money we want to take care of that -- so that's our goal," said Al McClanahan, Meijer's gas station coordinator.

    Customers can register by calling the company's toll free number, by text messaging "Meijer" with the word "GAS" in addition to the five-digit zip code by cell phone, or by going to the company's Web site, the report stated.

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