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Albertsons, Kroger and Noon's Named Newspaper Merchandisers of the Year

ORLANDO, Fla. - Albertsons has been named best overall in the Newspaper Association of America's annual Merchandiser of the Year awards competition.

Kroger Co. was selected as the winner in the regional/national category, and Hi-Noon Petroleum/Noon's Food Stores won in the local category. Winners were announced during NAA's Marketing Conferencce, taking place Jan. 26-29 at The Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center.

"Merchandisers and newspapers have been successful business partners for a long, long time for the simple reason that they complement each other perfectly," said John E. Kimball, NAA senior VP and chief marketing officer. "Newspapers help drive people to stores, and store promotions and displays help sell more papers."

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons was nominated by both the Los Angeles Times and St. Petersburg Times. In the St. Petersburg area, Albertsons teamed with the Times for the annual Great Grocery Giveaway sweepstakes promotion, which rewarded weekly winners with $500 shopping sprees. The promotion resulted in increased single-copy sales of 39 percent daily, and 21.7 percent on Sunday.

In Southern California, Albertsons and the Los Angeles Times formed a partnership for sales growth, creating a custom rack display that was featured prominently in 170 supermarkets. The partnership worked. Daily sales increased by 124 percent over the prior year, and Sunday sales were up 9.7 percent.

The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, was nominated by The Courier-Journal, Louisville, for a series of promotions and cooperative marketing strategies to increase single-copy sales and store traffic. The two partnered to test new newspaper racks that can be partly folded away for daily sales and fully expanded for Sunday. The eight-week test resulted in a 13 percent year-over-year increase in sales at the test location and prompted installation of the racks in all Louisville-area stores. After the new racks were in place, a Sunday "Double Deal" promotion, offering two copies of the Sunday Courier-Journal for one discounted price, was introduced. The promotion was aimed at Sunday shoppers, enticing them with double the amount of coupons they would normally get on Sunday. It resulted in a 9 percent increase in Sunday sales and is now a permanent offer in all area Kroger stores.

Hi-Noon Petroleum/Noon's Food Stores, Missoula, Mont., was nominated by the Missoulian, Missoula, Mont., for its "buy any beverage and receive a free Missoulian" promotion. The eight-week promotion, which took place in 12 stores in Western Montana, resulted in increased foot traffic and incremental sales for Noon's and 40,000 additional papers sold year-over-year, an increase of 266 percent.

The Newspaper Association of America, headquartered in Tysons Corner (Vienna, Va.), is a nonprofit organization representing the $55 billion newspaper industry and more than 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.
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