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    Giant Eagle Launches Foodperks! Program

    Grocer's new loyalty program rewards gas purchasers with grocery discounts.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Giant Eagle Inc., the mid-Atlantic supermarket chain whose popular fuelperks! program rewards frequent shoppers with discounts on gasoline, launched a complementary program yesterday that enables customers to earn discounts on regular supermarket purchases for pumping gasoline at the retailer’s GetGo fuel stations. Called foodperks!, the company views the new program as a great match to its fuelperks! program.

    Starting yesterday, every 10 gallons of fuel pumped at GetGo locations with the Giant Eagle Advantage Card earns customers a 1 percent foodperks! discount off the price of a single trip’s purchases inside any of Giant Eagle’s 23 Columbus area supermarkets.

    If central Ohioans like the test, the Pittsburgh-based company plans to introduce it in its Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland stores "really quickly," Chairman and CEO David S. Shapira told the Columbus Dispatch. "People are increasingly finding that their budgets are strained; that is what the whole [presidential] election was about," Shapira said. "We always try to be sensitive to the needs of our consumers."

    The program is a "natural evolution" of the company's fuelperks! program, which allows shoppers to earn a 20-cents-per-gallon discount on gas for every $50 spent in a Giant Eagle store, he said. Consumers have generated $422 million in fuel savings in the past year in the program, the company said.

    The foodperks! rewards are cumulative and, just like fuelperks! rewards, are electronically tracked on the Giant Eagle Advantage Card to maximize customer convenience. There are no limits to the number of rewards that can be earned. There is a maximum discount redemption of $60, or 20 percent, on a single trip’s purchase total of $300. Any foodperks! savings beyond the 20 percent maximum can be saved for a later supermarket trip, and is automatically tracked via the Giant Eagle Advantage Card.

    "Simply by pumping GetGo fuel into your vehicle, you earn discounts on your purchases at Giant Eagle -- even when you are redeeming fuelperks! discounts," said Giant Eagle Senior Vice President of Marketing Brett Merrell. Customers can easily redeem their foodperks! at the Giant Eagle checkout when they scan their Giant Eagle Advantage Card. Customers may opt to save rewards in order to maximize the discount. Purchase receipts at both GetGo and Giant Eagle locations will show the amount of discounts earned for customer convenience.

    Any gallons purchased without hitting the 10 gallon threshold will be carried over to the next purchase. For example, a purchase of 17 gallons of fuel will immediately get a 1 percent discount, and the remaining seven gallons will apply toward the next discount threshold.

    The foodperks! discounts will apply to nearly all purchased items, with a few exceptions like government-regulated items, gift card purchases, alcohol and tobacco, state- and federally-funded prescription programs, prescriptions paid via third party co-payments, postage stamps, lottery tickets, money orders, entertainment tickets, or other items prohibited by law. Discounts will be calculated after all other reductions such as coupons and other discounts. Earned foodperks! rewards expire three months after the end of the month in which a customer earns them.

    "People need food and gas. This program allows them to save on both the things they need most," Shapira told the Dispatch. He said Giant Eagle offsets the cost of the program by the increase in shoppers. "If they like it, they will respond more by shopping our gas stations and our markets." Giant Eagle has 20 GetGo stations in Columbus. Competing grocers throughout central Ohio also offer gas discounts; none has announced a food discount similar to the Giant Eagle program.

    Kroger spokeswoman Amy Barlow declined to comment to the paper on Giant Eagle's new program. "Everyone is doing new programs," she said. Barlow said Kroger continues to focus on its Fuel Plus program, which allows customers who spend a certain amount of money in its stores a discount of up to 50 cents off per gallon on four fill-ups per month.

    Giant Eagle Inc. ranked 33 on Forbes magazine’s largest private corporations list and past recipient of Progressive Grocer’s Retailer of the Year Award and the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Retail Partner of the Year Award, is one of the nation’s largest food retailers and food distributors with approximately $8 billion in annual sales. Giant Eagle operates 159 corporate and 61 independently owned supermarkets, 150 GetGo fuel and convenience stores and one Giant Eagle Express -- a grocery/c-store hybrid.

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