Kroger, P&G partner in electronic coupon experiment
CINCINNATI Kroger and Procter & Gamble are testing out a new paperless coupon system, based on consumer loyalty cards and the Internet, according to published reports.
Shoppers visit the retailer’s Web site and choose coupons online from a list of offers. The results are then automatically loaded into their Kroger Plus Card account, and the savings is automatically processed when they purchase the products.
Reviews have been positive, according to reports. “It’s really nice, because I always forget to bring my coupons along … and I don’t have to organize them,” one shopper told the Associated Press. “You don’t have to waste your time going through all those little pieces of paper in your purse,” said another.
Other experts predict that consumers who are less computer savvy will likely prefer the traditional paper coupons. Kroger assures them that option will still be available. “We really are just trying to provide more options, not take things away,” Ken Fenyo, Kroger’s vice president for corporate loyalty, told AP. “We know many of our customers are online heavily anyway. I believe over time, more and more customers will want to use the online option.”
Fenyo said other manufacturers may also join the test, as P&G seems pleased with the results so far. “It’s very early, but we’ve been able to run the water through the pipes and from what we’ve seen, things are looking pretty good,” said Matt Kemme, a P&G marketing manager, the AP reported.
CVS to close Phoenix facility, attempt to re-allocate employees
WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark plans to shutter its mail-order pharmacy operations in Phoenix at the end of the year.
“The decision to consolidate this operation into other existing operations was made after careful consideration and because of changing business demands and integration activities since the CVS and Caremark merger,” CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis told Drug Store News.
DeAngelis noted that, to date, the number of affected employees at the Phoenix facility is at least 100 fewer than the 423 indicated in The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act issued by the state in late October. He said the company is continuing its efforts to find positions for additional employees in other areas of the company, including other Caremark facilities and CVS/pharmacy retail stores.
“In instances where other job opportunities are not possible, employees will be eligible to receive a transition package to cover financial and health benefits, outplacement support and counseling,” said DeAngelis.
Published reports indicate that CVS Caremark will also shutter a similar-sized facility in Fort Worth, Texas. However, DeAngelis said that details on the Fort Worth facility were not readily available.
In March, CVS merged with pharmacy benefit manager Caremark, creating a $75 billion PBM powerhouse.
California Safeway workers approve contract
PLEASANTON, Calif. Union employees in the Bay Area and Northern California have approved a four-year contract with the Safeway supermarket chain.
Workers for the United Food and Commercial Workers union approved a contract that—according to a statement—provides “the largest across the board wage increases in the history of Northern California grocery industry contracts.”
The contract affects more than 25,000 union workers employed at 300 Vons and Safeway supermarkets. In a statement, UFCW leaders lauded the new contract for its wage increases and benefits and said that, “it bucks the national trend in which employers are cutting benefits and shifting the costs of healthy care on to employees.”