UKROP'S LOWERS THOUSANDS OF PRICES

RICHMOND, Va. - Ukrop's Super Markets here is following in the steps of Raley's, Giant Eagle and other retailers by switching to a selective everyday-low-price scheme.Ukrop's Consistent Low Price (CLP) program cut prices on more than 8,000 national-brand and private-label items while reducing the number of weekly specials to about 60 from 175. The price cuts last for at least 13 weeks and vary depending

RICHMOND, Va. - Ukrop's Super Markets here is following in the steps of Raley's, Giant Eagle and other retailers by switching to a selective everyday-low-price scheme.

Ukrop's Consistent Low Price (CLP) program cut prices on more than 8,000 national-brand and private-label items while reducing the number of weekly specials to about 60 from 175. The price cuts last for at least 13 weeks and vary depending on product line and category.

"With our new pricing structure, we are seeing to it that when you shop at Ukrop's, you're getting the most for your dollar," Bobby Ukrop, president and chief executive officer, wrote in the February issue of "Go To Market," the chain's new monthly consumer newsletter.

Participating items are identified with black-and-white "CLP" shelf tags that compare current and former prices. Current selections include Hunt's ketchup, 24 ounces, 99 cents; 7-Up, 12-pack of 12-ounce cans, $2.99; and Dasani water, 24-pack of 5-liter bottles, $4.99.

Jon Hauptman, vice president of Willard Bishop, Barrington, Ill., said the approach is similar to other modified-EDLP programs food retailers are using to prevent further erosion to Wal-Mart, warehouse clubs and other alternate formats. Such programs enhance a retailer's price image by offering the best of the high-low and EDLP promotional efforts, he said.

"By offering EDLP, Ukrop's is providing a good reason why shoppers should go to Ukrop's before going to any other store," he said. "And by retaining weekly specials, Ukrop's keeps the shopping experience fun."

CLP is an extension of a Ukrop's program that lowered prices on 50 products per 13-week cycle. Ukrop's said it used that initiative to determine if customers supported a simpler approach to pricing.

Mandy Burnette, Ukrop's marketing manager, said the new pricing structure benefits consumers by letting them buy a product when they want it rather than when it goes on sale. They also can get a good deal without having to stop at multiple stores or stock up and buy more than they need.

"CLP means that customers will find great prices on their favorite items every day," she said.

Along with the Consistent Low Price program, Ukrop's has made other changes it said are designed to make shopping easier.

The retailer branded its weekly specials "U-Savers," and marks them with bright yellow shelf tags. Ukrop's also reduced its weekly newspaper ad from 12 to four pages to reflect the reduced-item count, and launched "Go To Market," which contains articles on food, community news and Ukrop's products and services.

Asked how Ukrop's was able to offer the lower prices, Burnette said the CLP program represents a fundamental shift in how the retailer does business with its suppliers, but declined to elaborate.