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    Ukrop's Cuts Gas Discount

    Meanwhile, bigg's grocery stores start Pump Perks program.

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Ukrop's Super Markets Inc. slashed the amount of savings offered in its gasoline discount program by 50 percent, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    The chain's "fuelperks!" program, which began June 30, 2008, when gasoline prices were more than $3 per gallon, initially offered customers a 10-cent per gallon discount for every $50 they spent at a Ukrop's store, the newspaper reported. The reward was reduced to five cents per gallon, Robert S. Ukrop, the chain's president and CEO, wrote in a letter to customers.

    "This adjustment coincides with the more than 50-percent reduction in the cost of fuel since we began the program and still allows fuelperks! to remain the best program in the market to save on gas," Ukrop wrote.

    Ukrop said the chain would not commit to extending the fuel-savings program beyond March 28.

    Thirty gasoline stations in the region participate in the program, which limits customers to purchasing a maximum of 20 gallons at the discounted price. Customers saved more than $5.1 million in gasoline costs since the program was introduced, according to the grocery chain.

    Ukrop's will use other methods to save customers money, primarily in-store price reductions on more than 2,500 items, the company said. "We will be nimble and thoughtful as we seek ways to bring innovative services and programs to you," Ukrop wrote.

    In other discounted-gasoline news, 11-store bigg's, a grocery chain based in Cincinnati, is starting the new year with a discounted-gasoline program, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    The grocery operator is partnering with 14 area Sunoco gas stations for its new Pump Perks program. Shoppers will receive a discount of 1-cent per gallon for every $10 spent at a bigg's store. A $200 grocery basket, for example, would carry a discount of 20 cents per gallon of gas.

    Between 3,000 and 5,000 items per store will be marked with Pumps Perk discount tags. Buying those items brings even more savings on gasoline, the newspaper reported.

    "It can add up very quickly," Jimmy Nichols, vice president of merchandising and marketing at bigg's, a division of St. Paul, Minn.-based Supervalu Inc., told the newspaper.

    Pump Perks accumulate when a card or key fob is scanned at the checkout. Discounts can bring down the cost of gas as low as 10 cents a gallon, with a limit of 20 gallons per visit.

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