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The Boston Globe

Business

Shaw’s supermarket ends its rewards program

There’s about to be one less card taking up space in your wallet. Shaw’s has gotten rid of its Rewards Card.

The West Bridgewater supermarket chain on Friday eliminated its loyalty card that offered shoppers sale prices on selected items. Now, Shaw’s says, anyone can enjoy “card-free savings” throughout the store, with a focus on lower pricing for items shoppers buy most, such as milk, bread, and eggs. The store will also continue to have its weekly sales.

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“All of our customers deserve to get the lowest price on their groceries without needing to carry a Rewards Card with them,” Shaw’s president Shane Sampson said in a statement.

The move comes as Shaw’s prices increased compared to its competition, including chains such as Market Basket, which has no loyalty card but is known for its low prices.

“Shaw’s needs people back in the store,” said Mike Berger, senior editor of The Griffin Report of Food Marketing, a Duxbury trade publication. “A lot of people left Shaw’s because Supervalu let it go downhill,” he said, referring to the chain’s previous owner, which sold Shaw’s and four other grocery chains earlier this year to a private equity investment firm.

In addition to lower prices for all Shaw’s shoppers, stores have redesigned signs and employees are wearing new uniforms.

“We’re basically referring to this as a new day,” said Shaw’s spokesman Steve Sylvan.

Though many grocery chains started using loyalty cards and programs to track how their customers shopped, Sylvan said the chain no longer needs its card for that purpose.

“Our internal processes have become more sophisticated,” he said. “Tracking individual shopping habits isn’t as critical to our overall strategy.”

There may be one final use for a Shaw’s Rewards Card. Throughout the weekend, shoppers who enter a Shaw’s with a card in hand can exchange it for a coupon for a 99-cent 12-pack of Coke.

Gail Waterhouse can be reached at gail.waterhouse@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @gailwaterhouse.
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