20 Aug 2014
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Jewel Osco Eliminating Loyalty Card, Fuel Rewards

The Chicago-area grocer says it wants everyone to enjoy the savings card-free. It’s a move some say is in the opposite direction of the trend.

Jewel Osco Eliminating Loyalty Card, Fuel Rewards

This story was written by Patch Editor Andy Ambrosius

Jewel Osco announced it’s doing away with its My Rewards/Preferred Savings Card after two decades of card-based savings, the  Chicago Tribune writes, noting it’s a “bold move” in the opposite direction of most retailers.

The grocer sent a letter to customers detailing its decision to move away from the loyalty card, saying it wants everyone to enjoy savings, not just cardholders. Competitors like Walgreens recently did just the opposite by launching its Balance Rewards card last year.

Jewel has struggled in recent years to compete with rivals like Dominick’s Finer Foods and Walmart, according to  Crain’s Chicago Business. The company pulls in roughly $5 billion in revenue and has about 25,000 employees.

“Jewel needs to become more price-competitive,” Neil Stern, a senior partner at local retail consultancy McMillan-Doolittle LLP  told Crain's. “They have to eliminate the price disadvantage they have now vs. their competitors. Ineffective merchandising and pricing have been the big things contributing to a loss of market share for Jewel in recent years.”

But according to Jewel spokesperson Christine Wilcox, it’s all about simplifying the process for customers. 

Wilcox told the Tribune the change reflects  "our wanting every customer who walks through the door to get the same deal as if they had a card on their keychain chain or not.  We want things to be simple."

Stores are currently removing “preferred” signs from the stores and collecting the cards from customers. 

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