OPERATIONS

Coinstar and Safeway to install coin-counting kiosks

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway and Coinstar announced Thursday an agreement to install approximately 1,400 Coinstar kiosks in Safeway’s stores in the United States and Canada by the end of 2011.

Coinstar kiosks are to be installed in Safeway stores and its banners including Vons, Dominick’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Genuardi’s, Pavilions, Carrs and Pak N’ Save. Installations are planned to begin this month, according to the companies.

"Coinstar brings a turnkey service and two decades of experience managing the operational intricacies associated with self-service coin kiosks," said Brian Dowling, VP public affairs, Safeway. "We are confident our customers will be pleased with the flexibility of being able to turn their coins into cash, store purchases, or, in the future, a gift card."

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NRF praises Senate vote in favor of swipe-fee reform

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, the Senate rejected the Tester-Corker amendment to delay swipe-fee reform.

“This is a landmark victory for American consumers that will give them the break from skyrocketing swipe fees that they have been seeking for years,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “With the economy still trying to gain momentum and consumers facing skyrocketing costs for necessities like food and fuel, this badly needed reform will help ensure our nation’s economic recovery. It will prevent more than a billion dollars a month from being pocketed by big banks and, in turn, allow retailers to hold down prices for consumers.

Congress came to the right conclusion last year — hidden swipe fees charged by big banks have driven up prices far too much for far too long, Shay added.

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Aldi tops survey of low-cost grocers

BY Marianne Wilson

Boulder, Col. — Discount grocer Aldi ranks as the nation’s low-price grocery leader, according to a recent consumer survey conducted by Market Force Information.

The survey asked consumers to indicate which retailer captured most of their grocery dollars. Ten grocers topped the list, including Aldi, Costco, Giant Foods, H-E-B, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Safeway, ShopRite and Walmart. The survey then asked consumers to rank those 10 top grocery retailers on a number of attributes such as low pricing, cleanliness, service, food quality, location and the checkout process.

Results showed that consumers view Aldi as the affordable price leader, ranking it ahead of the other nine grocery chains. On an index scale with the average score set at 100, Aldi received a 157, followed by Walmart with a 129. Costco ranked third in the low-price category with an index score of 120, followed by Giant Food and HEB.

Market Force’s study revealed that the choice of a supermarket is primarily driven by location (67%). Second on the list was price (57%), followed by good sales and promotions (52%). The availability of good private-label products was high on the list (38%), revealing a growing opportunity for stores to differentiate. A mere 5% were shown to prefer their primary grocer for its sustainable environment and green policies.

The survey has some good news for grocers: The results showed the vast majority of consumers are satisfied with their grocery experience. When asked to think about their most recent grocery-shopping trip at their primary retailer, consumers were overall pleased, with 90% indicating they were somewhat or very satisfied. Only 10% of consumers said they were dissatisfied, with long wait times driving the most discontent.

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