Meijer Debuts Revamped Pricing

Not to be left behind in the rush to reinforce a value message in a tight economy, Meijer last week introduced a new pricing program designed around more everyday price reductions, deeper discounts on sale items and a simpler way of communicating those values. The retailer, which operates 190 superstores in five Midwestern states, said the streamlined pricing system will have

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Not to be left behind in the rush to reinforce a value message in a tight economy, Meijer here last week introduced a new pricing program designed around more everyday price reductions, deeper discounts on sale items and a simpler way of communicating those values.

The retailer, which operates 190 superstores in five Midwestern states, said the streamlined pricing system will have just three different sales categories: Everyday Best Price, Sale and Price Drop.

Everyday Best Price, a new designation at Meijer, applies to products that have been reduced in price and guarantee the retailer's lowest price on the item.

“The creation of this new category will not only provide savings to our customers, but also peace of mind for them, as they know they are getting our lowest possible price,” J.K. Symancyk, executive vice president of merchandising for Meijer, said in a statement. “We feel the introduction of Everyday Best Price will be a resounding success.”

Meijer said it would continue to offer Sale items for limited time periods, but that the discounts would be deeper than in the past. Price Drop, which is also a continuing program at Meijer, designates special buys and supplier promotions that represent lengthier price reductions. This program will be expanded to more categories, Meijer said.

“The current economic climate has created a generation of very strategic shoppers. It's incumbent upon us to make it as easy as possible to shop our stores and communicate the fact that our shoppers are getting the lowest prices,” Symancyk said.

Several of Meijer's grocery competitors have made similar pricing news in recent months, noted Craig Rosenbaum, a partner at Willard Bishop. These include Chicago-based retailers Dominick's and Jewel-Osco, each of which announced extensive programs designed to enhance their value offerings.

Those efforts may have sparked a competitive response from Meijer, Rosenbaum told SN.

“What Meijer is saying is, ‘Our prices are just as good as theirs, but we're not getting credit for it, and maybe we haven't done a good enough job at communicating that to shoppers,’” he said.

Rosenbaum said the lower prices could be funded though investment in margins and a concurrent shift to sales of higher-margin private-label items, and through renegotiations with vendors and suppliers.