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Grocery Stores Now Stocking Savings


Everybody loves free!


Grocery-price wars are heating up. Dominicks, Safeway (SWY), Sam's Club (WMT), Meijer, Walmart, Vons, and Ralphs are all in on the action. Dominick's, in particular, is 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.

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.

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Queen of Coupons Feeds Family for $10 a Week

Inquiring minds are interested in "Project Economy," which featured a mom who fed her family for less than $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, Massachusetts, 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.

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