Wal-Mart is testing a double coupon program in Utah at seven of its stores in Utah County.
Those seven stores in Orem, Springville, Payson, American Fork, Cedar Hills, Lindon and Saratoga Springs are the only locations among more than 4,300 Walmart and Sam's Club stores nationwide doubling coupons, a spokeswoman said. The Utah stores offer the promotion only on Tuesdays.
"It's a pretty unique situation," said Tara Raddohl, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
Wal-Mart won't say why Utah County was chosen as a test site, how the effort is progressing or how long it will last. Nationally, the giant retailer has been expanding its coupon and price-matching initiatives as a way to appeal to increasingly coupon-savvy and bargain-oriented shoppers.
Under Wal-Mart's double coupon policy in Utah County, the face value of coupons worth 50 cents and less are doubled to $1. Coupons worth more than 50 cents are rounded up to $1.
This week, Wal-Mart caused a stir after a West Valley store offered to double coupons on Tuesday for some shoppers who had heard about the Utah County promotion. Those shoppers took to the Internet.
"Word got out, and one thing led to another," Raddohl, said. The West Valley store has since halted its offer, and Raddohl stresses that the pilot program is only at the seven Utah County stores.
The double coupon promotion in Utah County helps Wal-Mart compete with Ridleys Family Markets, which was first to offer double coupons on Tuesdays in Utah County. No other Utah grocery store offers to double coupons on a regular basis. Kroger affiliate Smith's Food & Drug occasionally offers a "round up" event in which the face value of coupons under $1 in value are rounded up to $1, but it's not often.
L.J. Hurley, store manager of the Ridleys store in Orem at 1585 N. State St., said his company began doubling coupons early last summer. But the promotion is offered only at the two Orem stores the company acquired in February 2010 from the Albertsons grocery chain.
"Double coupons gets customers excited," Hurley said, although noting there is a cost to the store, which is reimbursed for the face value of manufacturer's coupons but must absorb the incremental cost of double coupons.
"It's something we would like to continue doing," he said. "But we're always re-evaluating it."
Utah County Walmart stores offering double coupons
Orem • 1355 Sandhill Road
Springville • 660 S. 1750 West
Payson • 1052 Turf Farm Road
American Fork • 949 W. Grassland Drive
Cedar Hills • 4689 W. Cedar Hills Drive
Lindon • 585 N. State St.
Saratoga Springs • 136 W. State Road 73