Low-Key Price Reductions Effective, Retailer Says

LAS VEGAS -- An Oklahoma retailer who lowered prices on 200 items to come as close as possible to prices at a new Wal-Mart supercenter that opened near one of his three stores said yesterday the store benefited from not calling special attention to the pricing.

LAS VEGAS -- An Oklahoma retailer who lowered prices on 200 items to come as close as possible to prices at a new Wal-Mart supercenter that opened near one of his three stores said yesterday the store benefited from not calling special attention to the pricing. "When customers saw lower prices with regular shelf tags, they were impressed, and my sales, gross profit and overall mix improved," Jim Brown, president and chief executive officer of Doc's Country Mart in Bixby, told a breakfast seminar during the National Grocers Association's annual convention here. "My reasoning was that I didn't want to push the pricing program too heavily because it would mess up my mix, and my warehouse [Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan.] said I shouldn't just put the items out there with regular shelf tags, but it worked." Brown also said he was able to reduce his advertising expense last year by approximately $100,000 by using loyalty card data to cut back on advertising circulars from 37,000 two years ago to 17,000 last year. -- Elliot Zwiebach