Area grocers cutting food prices to attract buyers

Is Southern California’s ongoing food price war spreading to Southern Nevada?

A major grocery retailer took what might have been a shot Wednesday when it announced it was paring prices on thousands of products to help draw in bargain-hungry shoppers.

California-based Safeway said Wednesday it is cutting prices by as much as 30 percent starting this week on about 5,000 items in its 15 Las Vegas Vons stores.

“We’re in some tough economic times. We have been listening to our customers, who have been telling us time and again that price matters a great deal,” said Daymond Rice, director of public affairs and government relations for Vons. “We began reducing prices in 2008 on several types of items, but we needed to do more for consumers.”

Price relief at Vons will vary depending on the product, but Rice cited three examples: A 23-ounce box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes that sold for $4.99 now retails for $3.99. A 33-ounce canister of Folgers commanded $9.99 pre-price break and now goes for $8.99. And a 21-ounce Tombstone pepperoni pizza used to cost $7.19 but runs $4.50 now.

Shoppers don’t need club cards to qualify for the lower prices, Rice said.

The cost cuts at Vons come on top of price drops at other traditional grocery stores.

Smith’s Food and Drug has been clipping prices for the last four years, including a reduction on produce two to three months ago, said spokeswoman Marsha Gilford.

The Kroger Co.-owned grocery chain also offers $4 generic prescriptions and savings of up to 15 cents a gallon for gasoline sold through discount programs at stores with fuel stations. It even gives shoppers $10 to $20 or more off their grocery bills based on points they rack up inside Smith’s stores.

Albertsons rolled out its Big Relief pricing initiative in April, dropping prices by up to 20 percent on thousands of items including peanut butter, pasta, deodorant, detergent and other staples. Like Smith’s, Albertsons also has a discount-gasoline program.

“It’s almost like the gas wars. People are lowering prices to get my business,” said shopper Richard Rorex of Apple Valley, Calif.

“I am noticing a 10 percent to 30 percent reduction on my register tape each time I go to the store,” said Rorex, who said he found lower prices at Stater Bros., Vons and Albertsons in recent weeks.

In Southern California, grocery retailers including Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons have spent much of the year trimming prices as they seek to win back budget-minded consumers who have migrated to Wal-Mart and Target.

Price is “the No. 1 reason” consumers mention when they pick where to shop, said Leslie Sarasin, chief executive officer of the Food Marketing Institute in Arlington, Va.

“The discounters have picked up more business, and the traditional grocers are responding,” said Tom Keller, president of Vons.

Rice took issue with the “price war” concept, noting that Vons has been reducing prices companywide since 2008.

Experts and other store operators say Vons’ latest move won’t likely lead to immediate new price reductions among competing grocers.

Smith’s doesn’t adjust prices in response to other stores’ programs, Gilford said.

At Albertsons, the focus rests on customers, not the competition, said Lilia Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based parent company Supervalu.

David Livingston, a supermarket research analyst with DJL Research in Waukesha, Wis., said the stores aren’t waging a price war as much as they’re responding to a long-term trend squeezing traditional grocers.

Think of the grocery business as an hourglass, said Livingston, with stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s at the top and discounters such as Wal-Mart at the bottom. Traditional stores such as Vons, Albertsons and Smith’s are constricted in the middle.

“The high end and the low end continue to grow, but the market for the middle-of-the-road, average supermarket is shrinking; and those stores are fighting harder and harder to get a piece of market share.”

What’s more, traditional, publicly traded grocers such as Vons answer to investors, and that’s partly behind the price cuts, Livingston said. As consumers head for cheaper competitors, some retailers face dwindling same-store sales year over year, and that’s anathema to companies that produce quarterly reports.

“Their primary focus is the shareholder, and they are really looking at next quarter’s numbers at all times,” Livingston said.

“They want to have some kind of number to report to Wall Street that doesn’t look negative, so in the short term they will lower some prices, hoping to generate sales.”

But Rice said the price changes are no short-term strategy. They won’t last only a week or even just six months, but for the foreseeable future. Plus, executives at Vons are always evaluating their merchandise for additional price relief, he said.

If competition continues to tighten marketwide, consumers can expect additional repricing programs in coming months, Livingston said.

Look for double coupons, a “gimmick” he said has proven popular in California, and expect price freezes, whereby a company stocks up on nine months’ worth of supply and then “freezes” prices on merchandise it’s already bought.

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report. Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or 702-380-4512.

Paris Wade discusses about his “Liberty Writers” website
Paris Wade, who made national headlines for operating a fake news website and boasts about getting President Donald Trump elected in 2016, speaks during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Wade is running for Nevada Assembly. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers.
Las Vegas Metro police and Henderson police officers ride their bikes during the Vegas Team's last practice rides in preparation for the Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal @bizutesfaye
UNLV students walk out of class on national walkout day
UNLV students and supporters chanted, marched and rallied on national walkout day Friday, April 20 on the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Captain Sasha Larkin Discusses Challenges, Progress in North West
Captain Sasha Larkin, of Metro's Northwest Area Command, discusses what issues face the northwest valley's residents and what police are doing to address them.
Southwest giving passengers on deadly flight $5,000 for compensation
Passengers on Flight 1380 have been receiving checks as a gesture of goodwill from the airline.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Artist, Community Paint Winchester Skate Park
Andrew Schoultz, a Los Angeles-based artist with an upcoming exhibit at UNLV's Barrick Museum, painted the skate park at Winchester Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge The President took to Twitter to criticize the former FBI director as information emerges from Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’. According to 'The New York Times', Comey describes Trump in the book as “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, via The New York Times A Higher Loyalty hits stores on April 17.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
Endangered Devils Hole Pupfish numbers enough for concern, but not panic
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Death Valley National Park came together at Devils Hole, about 90 miles west of Las Vegas, for a biannual count of the Devils Hole Pupfish, an endangered species. Their count this time – 87. (Video by Patrick Connolly)
Hickey Elementary Students Put Harry Potter on Trial
Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School students learned how the judicial system works by putting Harry Potter on trial for the illegal use of magic.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
The Clark County Museum Turns 50 This Month
The Clark County Museum has an extensive collection, dating back to prehistoric times in Southern Nevada up through the present day. It was first established in April 1968 and has had several locations before it's current home on South Boulder Highway.
Route 91 Artifacts Will Be On Display This October
Clark County Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton explains what artifacts will be on display in October as part of the museums Route 91 shooting memorial exhibit called "How We Mourned."
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like