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Consumers have saved more than $35 million in fuel using Winn-Dixie Fuelperks!

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Motorists have saved more than $35 million on fuel purchases since Winn-Dixie introduced its Fuelperks! program in Panama City, Fla., three years ago, Winn-Dixie announced Thursday. Since then, the program has spread to all of Florida (except the Pensacola area), and also is available in south Georgia, part of Alabama and southeast Louisiana, where Winn-Dixie has stores.

“With an average fuel price of $3.29 per gallon, you would have nearly 1,200 tanker trucks lined up bumper to bumper for more than 13 miles. That’s what $35 million worth of fuel looks like,” Winn-Dixie’s group VP marketing Mary Kellmanson said. “That gives you an idea of the savings of Fuelperks! And that’s on top of the savings found by shopping at Winn-Dixie.”

Winn-Dixie credits its Fuelperks! program success to the Winn-Dixie’s Customer Reward Card, which has a magnetic strip on the back, similar to a debit or credit card. To redeem Fuelperks!, Winn-Dixie guests insert their Customer Reward Card at the pump of any of the more than 900 participating Shell stations and can watch the price roll back according to the amount of discounts rewards they have accumulated.

Winn-Dixie’s Fuelperks! program is an alliance with Excentus Corp., a retail marketing coalition specializing in fuel-based reward programs, and Shell.

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Food Lion offers MVP customers holiday recipe, tips guide

BY Allison Cerra

SALISBURY, N.C. — Members of Food Lion’s loyalty card program have the opportunity to receive a copy of Southern Living magazine when they spend at least $35 and purchase one Kraft Foods or ConAgra Foods product.

MVP customers will be provided Southern Living’s holiday recipe and tips guide, "Our Best Holiday Desserts," which is available through Dec. 27. The 48-page publication features both a variety of holiday-theme ideas and special Food Lion coupons.

The holiday recipe and tips guide is available at all Food Lion locations while supplies last. Customers are limited to one guide per shopping visit, the company noted.

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Report finds retail in holding pattern, identifies major trends

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — The retail sector continues to tentatively edge toward recovery, buoyed by a strong start to the holiday shopping season; but several obstacles stand in the way of sustained progress in 2012, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s "North America Year-end Retail Outlook."

“Everyone, including consumers, is in a continued wait-and-see mode, delaying major buying and investment decisions until they see how several dynamics play out, including the elections next year," Jones Lang LaSalle Retail president and CEO Greg Maloney said. "Until we have some market certainty in the U.S. and overseas, plus sustained high levels of consumer confidence, driven by higher paychecks, a stronger stock market and an improved housing market, a robust recovery, will elude the retail sector."

One of the major trends impacting retail identified in the report is the growing prevalence of "Web-influenced sales," whereby are consumers researching products online, reading reviews and searching for the local best deals. The attractiveness of this practice lies in consumers’ desire for immediate gratification as well as the ability to save on shipping costs by buying locally in-store.

It’s estimated that web-influenced sales will generate almost $1.13 trillion in U.S. sales this year and, by 2015, will represent approximately 44% of total retail sales, or $1.55 trillion. Moreover, even though e-commerce sales are growing at a fast clip (10% annually), cross-channel commerce is growing even more rapidly, and is estimated to grow to five times the e-commerce market by 2015.

"To survive in the long-term, local retailers will have to ensure their products show up online, that the site reflects accurate availability, and that the online and in-store experiences are as seamless as possible," said Lew Kornberg, managing director of corporate retail solutions at Jones Lang LaSalle. "The rewards are direct — not only do shoppers come in for the researched product, they also stick around to buy other items once in-store."

Forrester Research reported that 45% of shoppers interviewed said they bought extra items once in a store, spending, on average, $154 on additional purchases.

Other major trends include:

  • Consumers’ increased reliance on their smartphones and tablets as an in-store shopping companion will motivate retailers to improve their mobile retail websites and capabilities and add mobile loyalty programs;

  • Amazon.com’s entrance into the designer fashion market with high-end fashion items, an online style guide and fashion recommendations based on previous choices will raise the stakes in this sector as the online retailer giant leverages its easy-to-shop, hassle-free reputation with fashion-forward consumers, eBay also launched its fashion outlet this year, offering savings up to 70%; and

  • Consumers are splitting their grocery budget and time among several types of food retailers, from wholesale clubs to organic supermarkets to regular grocery stores. Mid-market chains, most squeezed by this trend, are responding by adopting one of two strategies — upgrading their shopping experience with increased organic selections or focusing on bargains.

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