Grocery price wars are heating up. Jewel, Dominicks, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Meijer, Walmart, Vons, and Ralphs are all in on the action. Please consider Dominick’s slashing prices on thousands of items.

Dominick’s Finer Foods, which has its Midwest headquarters in Oak Brook, said this week it has been slashing prices up to 30 percent on thousands of food and other products at its 81 Chicago and suburban stores. Jewel-Osco started a price-cutting campaign in April. They finally have joined the ranks of Aldi Inc., Food 4 Less, Ultra Foods, Walmart and others with lower prices.

And they’re promising those lower prices will stay for the long haul.

Dominick’s has been quietly cutting prices over the last three weeks on nationally advertised foods as well as their own private label items, but a formal announcement came this week, said Don Keprta, Dominick’s division president based at the Midwest headquarters in Oak Brook.

“This has been our strategy for some time to lower prices,” Keprta said. “Earlier this year, about 5,000 items had prices cut and we plan to continue the Fresh Value card for additional savings.”

Keprta said Dominick’s is responding to customers, who have been squeezed by the recession and job or salary cuts, and don’t have the immediate cash to stock up during sales. They wanted lower prices every day, instead.

“We have no intention of changing back,” said Keprta.

Walmart’s lower “rollback” prices began putting pressure on the grocery chains. The retailer also began an advertising campaign in recent weeks that said it would match the sale price of any product, whether it was a loaf of bread or a plasma TV, from any competitor.

“We compete to be the low-price leader,” said Walmart spokesman John Simley. “We don’t do sales or promotions.”

Jewel-Osco introduced its Big Relief Price Cut program in April, offering thousands of products discounted up to 20 percent. The program has been successful, the company said, though it didn’t offer any specific details.

“Jewel-Osco will continue to evaluate its pricing to ensure customers are getting the best value possible,” said Jewel-Osco spokeswoman Karen May.

Meijer said many retailers offer “10 items for $10” promotions. The Michigan-based chain goes a step further by offering the 11th item free, said spokesman Frank Guglielmi.

“We are focused on being very innovative and aggressive in our promotions,” Guglielmi said. “As a privately held company, we are very nimble and can react quickly to customer feedback.”

Price Wars Intensify In California

The LA Times is reporting Groceries to cost even less as supermarket price war intensifies.

Already having cut prices for much of 2009, Vons, Ralphs and Southern California’s other big chains are gearing up for a new round of reductions as they seek to win back shoppers and market share.

The region’s big grocers, already having trimmed prices for much of the year, are gearing up for a new round as they seek to win back budget-minded customers who have migrated to discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

Vons will announce today that it is lowering the prices of about 5,000 items — about 15% of the store — at its 274 stores in the region.

“It is almost like the old gas wars,” said shopper Richard Rorex of Apple Valley. “People are lowering prices to get my business.”

“I am noticing a 10% to 30% reduction on my register tape each time I go to the store,” said Rorex, who mentioned that he had found lower prices at Stater Bros., Vons and Albertsons in recent weeks.

Sam’s Club Guarantees $200 Savings A Year

Sam’s Club is offering a “paperless coupon” program guaranteed to save consumers at least $200 a year.

Queen Of Coupons Feeds Family For $10 A Week

Inquiring minds are interested in “Project Economy” where Mom Feeds Family For Under $10 A Week.

A mother of four has earned the title of “queen of coupons,” as she has learned to feed her family of six for less than $10 a week.

Kathy Spencer, of Boxford, Mass., said the trick is buying in bulk when items are on sale and using coupons to bring down the cost.

“We freeze everything,” Spencer said. “If taco shells are on sale, we pull out chicken from the freezer and make tacos.”

Spencer gets her coupons from newspapers, grocery stores and manufacturers’ Web sites. Her grocery bill for her four children and her husband Brian averages $4 each week.

“A lot of the stuff I get for nothing. I will mail in a rebate and actually make money,” Spencer said. “I also have a dog, two cats, and a bunny, and they eat for free, too.”

During a recent shopping trip, Spencer bought $279 in groceries for 39 cents.

Spencer has a following of almost 4,000 on the Yahoo Finance group “How To Shop For Free” and thousands more on the Big Tent – How To Shop For Free Web site.

“We’ve had members go from spending $300 a week on food down to $40 in a matter of weeks,” she said.

Big Time Couponing

Dena, who reads this blog is also into “couponing”. I asked here for some sample receipts.

Dena writes:

Okay, here are the receipts and my “glory shot” (taken by my husband so he could brag on me to friends and family). Each pdf has two receipts. First balance that I marked with an arrow is balance after store savings and electronic coupons. Second balance at bottom of receipt is total after manufacturers coupons. After the second balance is total savings both as dollars and as percentage. Look at second receipt on kroger3A. If my battery e coupon had redeemed, I would have paid 24 cents!

I was talking to the manager of a national drugstore chain today and he says there has been a big increase in couponing at his store and in demand for the free and nearly free promotions they do each week. Everyone likes free!!

click on image for sharper view

click on image for sharper view

Free Stuff

The above image is last week’s mostly free stuff. The receipts shown are for 84% off after all coupons and 94% off after all coupons respectively. I have still more receipts that Dena sent.

Dena writes “This week I am getting 37 bags of dog food and 12 cartridge razors for free. There seems to always be a deal out there somewhere, if you have the time and can get the coupons.

I have been saying for years that food is a bargain. For those into couponing, it’s a far bigger bargain than I thought.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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