FINANCE

Coupon redemption up 27% in 2009

BY CSA STAFF

Winston-Salem, N.C. Annual coupon use is on the rise for the first time since 1992, according to a report by Inmar, a promotion transaction settlement provider.

For the first time in 17 years, consumers used more coupons than they did the year before, with 3.3 billion consumer packaged goods coupons redeemed, an explosive 27% increase over the 2.6 billion redeemed in 2008.

The rise in coupon use started in October of 2008, coinciding with news of the U.S. financial crisis. That has led to five consecutive quarters of double-digit growth (based on percentage change from the same period of the previous year).

The increase in redemption goes hand-in-hand with an increase in distribution, the report said. Despite the tight economy, marketers invested heavily in coupons, boosting the number available to the highest level in over 30 years. Brands issued 367 billion coupons, at an average face value of $1.44, indicating that they were committed to promotions in 2009.

Online coupons also contributed to the rise in coupon distribution and redemption, with Internet distribution up 92% and consumer redemption of these coupons up over 360%. 

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REAL ESTATE

Coldwater Creek closing downtown Seattle store

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Coldwater Creek is closing its downtown Seattle store after 10 years to focus more on stores in suburban markets, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The lease for the store has expired and the company will close the store Jan. 30.

Since the store opened, Coldwater Creek has changed its business model to focus on growth in suburban markets with smaller stores, the report said.

The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company will continue to operate its Seattle-area stores at Bellevue Square, Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall and Tacoma Mall, as well as stores in Kent and Gig Harbor.

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FINANCE

Lowe’s card offers points to small business customers

BY CSA STAFF

Las Vegas Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s Cos. teamed with American Express Open to launch the Lowe’s Business Rewards Card.

The key feature of the new payment product is the ability to offer small business customers reward points. It’s the first rewards program for Lowe’s small business credit customers.

In a prepared statement, Lowe’s president and COO Larry Stone said the Rewards Card “offers convenience and rewards at a time when business owners need it most.”

The breakdown of the points follows a simple plan: one point for every dollar spent on the card; double points for dollars spent at Lowe’s; and triple points for dollars spent on restaurant purchases, office supplies and wireless bills.

The announcement of the new card was made during the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

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