Market Basket's 4% discount ups ante in supermarket battle

‘Reward’ for shoppers latest salvo in ongoing competition

Value grocer Market Basket has turned up the heat in the supermarket wars by offering a 4 percent discount on nearly all items in its stores through almost all of 2014.

The Tewksbury, Mass.-based grocery chain, which has 28 stores in New Hampshire, announced the yearlong discount in its most recent weekly flyer.

The discount, which runs until Dec. 27, is available to all shoppers and doesn’t require a loyalty card or minimum purchase.

It’s the latest salvo in the competition among traditional supermarkets and other entries in the battle for New Hampshire’s grocery dollar, which has become so heated in recent years that traditional supermarkets lost more than 10 percent of their market share in the last decade alone.

In a press release sent to NHBR, Market Basket called the promotion ”a reward for its loyal customers and an investment towards a long-term growth strategy to attract new customers, increase sales, and continue to strengthen and build Market Basket’s brand identity.”

The 4 percent discount applies to all goods except beer, wine, cigarettes, milk, town trash bags, lottery tickets, postage stamps, and gift cards.

The grocery chain said the timing of the promotion “could not be better” as it coincides with last November’s 5.5 percent decrease in monthly SNAP benefits. Market Basket said that over the course of the year, the promotion would amount to getting two weeks of groceries free. (For a someone who spends $100 a week on groceries, that would amount to $200 in savings by year’s end.)

In a post about the discount on the MyDemoulas Facebook fan page – run by someone not affiliated with the grocer, which doesn’t have a website – most commenters praised the 4 percent-off initiative, though some questioned whether it would coincide with price increases throughout the year. (A similar debate broke out on a post in the Facebook group “People of Market Basket.”)

In the release, Market Basket said it “will continue to keep existing prices low and continue to feature a large variety of weekly specials in its circular.”

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