business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Orange County Register reports that Kroger-owned Ralphs in Southern California has announced that as of April 1, its longtime double coupons policy will be ended.

“In mailers delivered to customers this week,” the Register writes, “the Southern California supermarket chain announced big changes coming soon to its Rewards program. Starting April 1, rewards points earned on the Ralphs Rewards card will be good for ‘fuel discounts’ instead cash-back certificates. Customers will receive their final ‘rewards certificates’ after May 1, the full page ad said.” And, in smaller print, the ad says that coupons now will be accepted only at face value.

"At Ralphs, we take our relationship with our customers very seriously,” Ralphs spokeswoman Kendra Doyel tells the Register. “Rest assured that these changes are leading to something  that will result in more widespread savings for our shoppers, throughout the store, every single day. While we  understand your frustration, please know that we carefully considered these changes, keeping in mind the implications for our shoppers. Next week, on March 28th, we plan to announce the new savings program with even greater savings."
KC's View:
I’m sure they’ll face some blow-back on the elimination of double coupons, but I think this is a smart move. I’ve never liked double coupons, and they can become a kind of addiction that is tough for customers to break. I also think that offering fuel discounts in California - where it seemed during my visit last week like prices were rapidly edging toward $5 per gallon - has to have some resonance.