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    Competitive Watch:

    Giant Eagle's fuelperks! are thriving; gas stations make plans to compete.

    PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle has seen a "significant" jump in stores sales and new customers -- more than 1,000 new loyalty card sign ups -- since it doubled the value of its fuelperks! program to 20 cents off per gallon after a $50 purchase from its stores, reported the Beacon Journal.

    Giant Eagle's Advantage cards got even more valuable when gift cards purchased in Giant Eagle grocery stores -- for places such as Kohl's, Best Buy or Olive Garden -- can accumulate another 10 cents per gallon for every $50 dollars spent.

    Competing gas stations are watching closely and making plans for similar loyalty programs. Holland Oil Co. and Bell Stores have similar programs in the works. John Ballard, spokesman for Holland Oil, told the newspaper that "We're well down the road toward a program later this year."

    Speedway, subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corp. has already set up a plan with Marc's stores to link purchases with gasoline incentives, the Beacon Journal reported. That plan allows consumers to purchase $25 dollar gas cards at Marc's stores, then receive a 10 cent discount per gallon when they use the card at any Speedway location.

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