Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Safeway opens its club to all

Discounts will be automatic

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If you noticed the checkout lines at Canada Safeway stores moving a little quicker on Friday, it might be because the grocery company terminated its Safeway Club card program.

As of Friday, the program that has been operating for 16 years and was one of the longest-running loyalty cards in the market, has been discontinued.

Company officials said discounted items -- an average of 4,500 per week -- will now be available to all customers.

John Graham, Safeway's Manitoba spokesman, said the company has been hearing from people for a long time that they are inconvenienced by a growing number of loyalty and credit cards in their wallets and they'd like to be able to get the discounts without the card.

He said the move is Safeway-specific and does not necessarily have anything to do with the integration of Safeway's operations with its new owners, Sobeys Inc.

Sobeys acquired Canada Safeway last year for $5.8 billion.

Graham said customers will now benefit from an additional 1,500 items per week that will be discounted in the wake of the elimination of the Safeway Club card.

That means shoppers should see about 6,000 discounted items out of an average of 40,000 items found in a typical Safeway store.

Club cards are still honoured in the U.S. Safeway stores, which were not part of the Sobeys acquisition and Safeway continues to be a member of the Air Miles rewards program.

In addition to regular Air Miles rewards, Safeway customers will now receive one base Air Mile for every $20 spent at Safeway throughout the week.

As well, Safeway will continue to offer gas rewards on purchases. For every $35 spent on eligible groceries in a single transaction, shoppers can earn a five-cent-per-litre discount off their fuel purchase at a Safeway gas bar.

The fuel rewards will be printed on the grocery receipt, which can be redeemed at the gas bar.

Canada Safeway says for a period of time at some stores, customers might still need to swipe their Safeway Club card at self-checkouts to receive the savings.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 B6

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