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Fuel, Loyalty, Pharmacy Drive Spartan Growth

MIAMI — Spartan Stores is growing its retail business behind unique strategies in loyalty, pharmacy and fuel, its chief executive said in an investor conference here Wednesday.

A reward-based loyalty card introduced last year at Family Fare and D&W Food Center stores in Spartan’s Grand Rapids, Mich. base is “a pretty innovative approach to loyalty,” said Dennis Eidson, speaking at ICR XChange Conference.

“We took great care when we were signing up folks for the card program, and we have nearly 850,000 households with the card but we also captured half a million email addresses,” Eidson said. “So as we speak today we are corresponding with 450,000 customers electronically, around [making] offers to them.”

Eidson said Spartan was using the card as a “relationship tool,” mentioning for example that loyalty data identifying chain’s best shoppers allowed the company to have store managers present them with free poinsettias during the holiday season. The “Yes Points” card also allows customers to save on fuel at Spartan stores with gas stations and at Speedway fuel stations for 30 stores without fuel centers, he said.

Programs offering free prenatal vitamins, antibiotics and diabetic maintenance drugs is fueling strong growth pharmacy growth at Spartan, Eidson added, noting that prescriptions are trending up by 5% in the current third quarter.

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