DEALING FROM THE SAME DECK

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Riser Foods here and Finast, Maple Heights, Ohio, are going head-to-head in promoting their frequent shopper programs with remarkably similar consumer appeals.Both chains had full-page color newspaper ads with prominent placement in the Cleveland Plain Dealer April 17, the day Finast launched its frequent shopper program. Riser, which operates Stop-n-Shop stores in many of

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Riser Foods here and Finast, Maple Heights, Ohio, are going head-to-head in promoting their frequent shopper programs with remarkably similar consumer appeals.

Both chains had full-page color newspaper ads with prominent placement in the Cleveland Plain Dealer April 17, the day Finast launched its frequent shopper program. Riser, which operates Stop-n-Shop stores in many of the same markets as Finast, has had a card-based program for more than a year.

Finast ads appearing on the eve of its card program launch outlined a cash incentive program rewarding shoppers based on three spending levels. Certificates valued at $5, $7.50 and $10 will be mailed to shoppers achieving spending levels of $250 to $375, $376 to $500, and more than $500, respectively, over a six-week period.

Riser responded in kind in its ad, heralding "quick and easy savings" that reward shoppers with checkout certificates issued at the point of sale. Stop-n-Shop customers enrolled in its Preferred Shopper card program spending $25 to $50 will receive a $2.50 checkout certificate good toward the next shopping trip and club members spending more than $50 in a week's time will receive a $5 certificate.

Both chains' April 17 ads also urged shoppers to "watch the mail" for circulars en route and asked those who "couldn't wait" to stop in stores to pick up copies. Finast and Riser also published their own toll-free telephone numbers shoppers can call to request a copy of the circular.