Giant Eagle Dumps Foodperks

Nearly three years after its launch, Pittsburgh’s market leader, Giant Eagle, is discontinuing its foodperks! program, which gave shoppers using the retailer’s Advantage loyalty cards supermarket discounts based on the amount of gas they buy at the Pittsburgh-based chain’s sister GetGo convenience stores.

Amid of wave of intial consumer backlash on social media, Giant Eagle launched a new GetGo fuel savings program that enables customers to instantly save 3 cents per gallon on the price of fuel purchased when they scan their loyalty card and are not redeeming rewards from Fuelperks, remaining intact, which allows consumers to earn credit towards gas purchases based on their grocery purchases.

Effective Feb. 4, 2013, every purchase of fuel offers GetGo customers the choice to save 3 cents per gallon or to use their available Fuelperks discounts.

“Our new 3 cents per gallon of fuel discount promotion provides four million Giant Eagle Advantage Card holders with an easy, and instant way to frequently save on the cost of fuel,” said Rob Borella, Giant Eagle’s senior director of corporate communications.

This new promotion is in addition to Fuelperks, which provides a 10 cents per gallon discount on fuel at GetGo for every $50 spent on qualifying grocery and other purchases at Giant Eagle stores.

Borella said that, in line with trends and feedback showing that “time-pressed consumers are seeking simpler and more frequent ways to save,” Foodperks will end with rewards earned through Feb. 13 and honored up to May 31.

In an effort to inform in advance those customers who were receiving the highest level of savings with Foodperks, the company began to issue letters to those customers, along with added-value offers in appreciation of their loyalty. These letters began to arrive late last week, and will continue to be delivered to customer mailboxes through this week.

In the letters, the company shared feedback it had received that not all customers liked the structure of the Foodperks promotion, as it requires additional shopping planning.

As a result, Borella said, only a small percentage of customers received significant savings. “In fact, approximately 92 percent of Giant Eagle Advantage Card customers saved less than $40 each from Foodperks in the preceding 12 months,” he said.

The intent of the letters was to provide additional context for the decision, and the company offered an apology to customers who “may have been offended or misinterpreted the language used in the notification letters.”

Meanwhile last month, Giant Eagle ended its free antibiotics and diabetes drugs program, moving those medications to its $4 and $10 generic prescription lists. The company said the program, which ended Jan. 17, helped more than 3 million customers since it was launched in 2009. Giant Eagle pharmacies still offer up to a free 90-day supply of prenatal vitamins for expectant mothers with prescriptions, with a Giant Eagle Advantage card.

In related news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Dallas-based Excentus, which said it helped facilitate Giant Eagle's fuelperks program, filed a lawsuit against the retailer alleging breach of duties, patent infringement and unfair competition against the multi-format food and fuel retailer.

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