Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Discount Coupons under Fire

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Discount Coupons under Fire

Article excerpt

Discount coupons, now 101 years old and an integral part of American shopping, are under siege.

They've become increasingly controversial as companies and consumers opt instead for value-pricing strategies.

The number of discount coupons distributed has been in decline, slipping to 291.9 billion last year, while the number actually redeemed fell to 5.8 billion. Manufacturers have been gradually reducing the length of time consumers can use a coupon to just over three months, to reduce their long-term liability. The latest body blow for couponing came recently from Procter & Gamble, which announced it's experimenting with eliminating coupons altogether in three upstate New York towns. It should be noted that both P&G and General Mills in the not-so-distant past tried unsuccessfully to do away with coupons. Their competitors stepped up their own couponing in response to those moves. "Coupons are not so much about saving money as they are about wasting money, since less than 2 percent of coupons distributed each year are ever redeemed," said Elizabeth Moore, a spokeswoman for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. "It costs a lot of money to print up coupons and get them into the hand s of the consumers, and we'd like to eliminate this waste so we can provide an everyday low price," Moore added. In recent years, P&G has cut its coupon spending by nearly 50 percent while reducing product prices, she added. …

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