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Report: Food prices see biggest jump since 1974

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Food prices reached peak levels last month, according to the Labor Department’s Producer Price Index.

The index noted that the month of February experienced a surge of 3.9% in food prices, the largest increase since a 4.2% climb reported in November 1974. PPI also noted that about 70% of the February rise can be attributed to higher prices for fresh and dry vegetables, which jumped 48.7%.

The Labor Department noted that, when seasonally adjusted, the PPI for finished goods increased 1.6%. This rise followed advances of 0.8% in January and 0.9% in December 2010, as well as the largest increase in finished goods prices since a 1.9% increase in June 2009.

The news followed reports that gas prices are said to rise and will prompt a spike in supply chain costs, which in turn will cause consumers to look for value-conscious shopping alternatives.

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Goal! Bic scores with Mexican soccer lighters

BY Allison Cerra

SHELTON, Conn. — Bic is expanding its Pro Series of lighters with new Mexican soccer designs.

The lighters are emblazoned with Chivas and Club America teams’ logos and colors. The eight lighters are targeted to Mexican-American males ages 25 years and older, Bic said.

Lighters in the Bic Pro Series Mexican soccer series have a suggested retail price of $1.69 per lighter.

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Some loyalty programs miss mark among consumers, study finds

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — A report released Tuesday by payment system provider ACI Worldwide found that many retail loyalty programs leave consumers feeling underappreciated, and many consumers are enrolled in a program they don’t completely understand.

Although 3-out-of-4 Americans are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, 85% of those surveyed said that they haven’t heard a single word from a loyalty program since the day they signed up. Likewise, 81% said they don’t even know the benefits of the program or how/when they will receive rewards.

The majority of American consumers (62%) join retail loyalty programs so they can get discounts on the things they buy most, the survey noted, yet only 36% received a reward or promotion that made them come back to the store again, and 27% of consumers complained they had received a reward or promotion for something they would never buy.

More than 2-in-5 consumers (44%) said they have had a negative experience from a loyalty program.

“Loyalty programs have long been a logical way to leverage consumer satisfaction, but retailers are missing the mark when it comes to reaching out to consumers with information and offers that are relevant to them,” said Rob Seward, senior industry marketing manager at ACI Worldwide. “The end result is that memberships are becoming meaningless.”

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and interviewed 1,053 Americans ages 18 years and older.

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