Vons Brings Back Unlimited Coupons

Vons said Thursday that it is reviving its unlimited double coupon policy after customers threatened to shop elsewhere.

On Jan. 7, Vons cut in half the amount a customer can double, to 50 cents from $1, and said it was lowering its prices slightly. At the time, Vons said it would have to raise prices if it didn't change the coupon policy, which costs the chain millions of dollars a year.

Stuart A. Rosenthal, Vons marketing vice president, said Thursday that the grocery chain received many angry letters from once-loyal customers who said they were now shopping around. "We're a company that listens to the consumer," said Rosenthal, explaining the change.

Vons will not raise prices, even though the coupon policy has been reinstated, he said. "Of course, everything impacts the bottom line." However, Rosenthal said he doesn't believe Vons will suffer, because it expects new business due to the unlimited double coupons and lower prices.

The reversal must disappoint Vons' competitors. "We've picked up new business as a result," said Al Marasca, marketing vice president at rival grocery Ralphs, which also offers unlimited double coupons.

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