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H.E. Butt Grocery Co. on Wednesday rolled out a price-cut initiative at 43 stores in greater Houston, with price slashed on thousands of items that it said its customers buy most frequently. The local leading chain also introduced "H-E-Buster," a heroic inflation fighter of a mascot whose mission is to check, compare, and lower prices everyday.
The company did not say whether it plans to introduce the program in other markets where it operates.
Explaining its timing, HEB noted, "The shifting economy is driving behavioral changes in [our] customers, forcing many of them to focus on necessities, rather than luxuries. Stretching household budgets, and in some cases, making significant lifestyle changes, is becoming a priority for many consumers."
HEB said it's lowering thousands of prices on items customers buy most frequently and increasing the value of weekly promotions and money-saving opportunities for customers.
To get the word out, the grocer is stepping up communication initiatives including print and broadcast advertising, outdoor boards, new in-store signage, and weekly circulars, and the launch of H-E-Buster - "a heroic inflation fighter whose mission is to check, compare, and lower prices everyday, and help customers save money by doing price checks, so the customer does not have to."
"Our customers are telling us that the changing economy and price increase on commodity items is affecting them," said Scott McClelland, president of HEB Houston. "At HEB, we are experiencing the same impact. It is our responsibility to help our customers stretch their dollar and make smart decisions when shopping for groceries. We will continue to work hard every day to minimize the impact that increased raw material and transportation costs have on customers and their families by maintaining low prices and offering money-saving opportunities."
HEB also said that its new lower prices will be lower than competitors' card prices. "H-E-Buster will continue to conduct regular price checks by comparing national brand and own brand products and competitor prices to provide HEB customers with big savings on best-selling items from meat and seafood to milk and bread," the company said.
In addition to new lower prices, customers can take advantage of money-saving opportunities and free items at HEB, the retailer said, through special offerings including new coupons, five items for $5 promotions, HEB's Own Brand and Hill Country Fare products, Combo Locos, Meal Deals, and My H-E-B Rx Rewards. A Meal Deal, or meal solution, invites customers to purchase one or two family meal items, and get multiple offerings that complement the entree item for free. When a customer purchases the featured Combo Loco item, they will receive an additional item for free.
HEB said it's able to maintain low prices and lessen the impact that increased commodity costs have on its customers because it has invested in more efficient product buying systems, continues to utilize its self-manufacturing and local warehousing facilities throughout the state to lower production and transportation costs, and is building on its current relationships with local growers, which allows the company to offer high quality products at the lowest possible price.
HEB operates more than 300 stores in Texas and Northern Mexico.