LUCKY STORES LOYALTY CARD OFFERS KEY TO CAR DISCOUNTS

SALT LAKE CITY -- As part of its effort to add value to its frequent-shopper program, Lucky Stores is offering cardholders rewards and incentives when they purchase new or used automobiles.All units of Lucky Stores' northern and southern California divisions, totalling approximately 450 stores, are reportedly providing cardholders with the opportunity to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle at

SALT LAKE CITY -- As part of its effort to add value to its frequent-shopper program, Lucky Stores is offering cardholders rewards and incentives when they purchase new or used automobiles.

All units of Lucky Stores' northern and southern California divisions, totalling approximately 450 stores, are reportedly providing cardholders with the opportunity to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle at a prenegotiated price, from dealers who are prescreened by a third-party company.

The benefit is available to both new and existing members of Lucky's frequent-shopper program. Cardholders using this service also receive a $25 gift certificate good at Lucky's.

Executives at Lucky's, a division of American Stores Co. here, confirmed that the program is in place but declined to provide further details.

Lucky's car service, which reportedly went live May 1, is advertised in the retailer's "Neighborhood Rewards Book." This quarterly brochure, mailed to cardholders and displayed at the stores, provides loyal customers with approximately $4,000 worth of discount coupons for more than 1,000 retailers, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The advertisement provides car-shopping cardholders with a toll-free number for the Consumer Car Club, San Francisco, the third-party company providing the screening service. Members can also visit the company's Web site, at www.carclub.com/luckyrewards.

"We prescreen and approve different car dealerships in the Lucky Stores communities," said a Consumer Car Club executive who asked to remain anonymous. "When cardholders call the toll-free number, they supply us with their name, address, telephone number, frequent-shopper number, the location of the Lucky store they shop in, and whether they are interested in buying a new or used vehicle.

"Based on this information, we can supply them with the name and address of a dealership that will suit their needs, as well as a contact person [at the dealership]," the source added.

The third-party company also provides Lucky cardholders with a 25% discount toward its used-car buyer-protection program, as well as used-car inspections and multiple insurance quotes for the vehicles.

"The marketplace needs to leverage its financial relationships in the areas where consumers spend the most money," said Michael London, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Car Club. "The top three areas where consumers spend the most money are food, shelter and their automobiles. Through this partnership, Lucky customers can save on two out of three of these."