HOUSTON --It's a huge bombshell in the world of coupons. We first told you on Monday Kroger is doing away with their double and triple coupon policy starting April 13. Kroger says not enough people were utilizing the double and triple coupon program and that's one of the reasons they are doing away with the program. But according to the latest trend report, consumer demand for coupons remains high and Our Super Saver Erin Libranda says couponers likely will be changing their shopping strategy. "I am alone and I am living on a fixed income so the savings help," shopper Vernell McNeil said. "This is a shocker, not just for the extreme couponers, this is for everybody. This hits home for everybody," Libranda said. Like many thrifty shoppers, Libranda's favorite store is Kroger because of the double and triple coupon policy that has been around since 1983. Now she will be thinking twice about where she shops. "If there is something on special on sale, I can still see myself going there, but if I can get the same exact deal at another store and it is closer, that's probably what I will end up doing," she said. "It's definitely an emotional decision for us as well as the people that use those coupons," Rebecca King with Kroger said. King says the company wants to move into a new direction with coupons. "With the growing popularity of digital coupon, with more people using mobile applications, as well as manufactures issuing coupons for over 50 cents, we felt it was time to try new savings programs and discontinue double, triple programs," she said. King also says not enough customers were using coupons. "We find that in the greater Houston area, there are only about seven percent of our shoppers that are using coupons but most importantly than less than 1 percent of shoppers that are using 10 coupons in a transaction," she said. When asked whether some extreme couponers were the reason why the program will be canceled, King had this to say: "I don't want to say it ruined our bottom line, no,," she said. Now our super saver says her shopping strategy will be changing. She may be spending more time at Randalls, which doubles and triples one "like" coupon. Over at Walmart, the store has a price match policy, and they just changed their coupon policy. Walmart will accept a coupon that's worth more than the item being purchased and give the customer the difference. They are also accepting certain competitors' coupons. "They can get the same price at HEB or better pricing at Walmart with the new price-matching policy, so I think it will hurt them in the long run; they are going to end up losing a lot of customers," Libranda said. Kroger says they plan to announce a new savings program with Houston-area customers in a couple of weeks. Meantime they say they have more than 150 coupons available now that can be downloaded to your Kroger plus card.
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