Friday, February 13, 2009

The Valentine's Day (Retail Promotional Price) War of the (Dozen Long-Stemmed) Red Roses: And the Winner Is... Tesco's Fresh & Easy

The Valentine's Day holiday, which this year falls on a Saturday -- tomorrow, Saturday, February 14 -- is the first merchandising and selling opportunity for food and grocery (and other format) retailers after the busy Christmas-New Year's season.

The week leading up to Valentines Day, which has become an event not just to celebrate with significant others but also one in which many people exchange greeting cards and buy gifts for close friends and family members, offers food and grocery retailers the opportunity to merchandise, promote and sell numerous products in high volume that they normally wouldn't sell much of at all in mid-February were it not for the Valentine's Day holiday.

These items include: Valentine's Day-themed greeting cards of all kinds; both regular and special Valentine's Day candy and confection items; Valentines Day-themed gift items (food and non-food); higher-priced and higher margin premium chocolates and other confections; bakery items like cakes, cookies and more; premium fresh meat items like Filet Mignon and New York steaks, as well as high-end items like fresh and frozen Lobster; higher-end wines, champagnes and spirits; numerous other food items that go with creating a quality Valentine's Day dinner at home; and, of course -- fresh cut flowers, particularly roses, and especially red roses. Roses in colors other than red have become increasingly popular over the years, but when it comes to Valentine's Day the red rose is still by far the most popular color desired by shoppers and sold by retailers.

And for those starving college students and the rest of us economically hard-pressed folks, that single red rose, dressed up with a couple floral greens and a strand of baby's breath, can also make a romantic Valentine's Day statement, particularly if you include a card that expresses the "singular" nature of the significant other you give the single-rose bouquet to. We offer that suggestion both to those with recession-pinched pocketbooks, as well as to any retailers who've yet to include the single-rose bouquet in their Valentine's Day floral merchandising mix. We've seen such single-rose mini-bouquets for $3 -to- $5 in a couple supermarkets this week. it's a great value merchandising idea for this year.

But numerous food/grocery, drug and discount retailers in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, where Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market operates its about 112 combination grocery and fresh foods stores, have taken the recessionary moment to heart, and to their merchandising schemes, and are offering bouquet's of one dozen long-stemmed red roses at super-affordable prices this year for Valentine's Day.

Fresh & Easy Buzz just completed a survey of a number of those retailers in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona that are offering such deals.

How we did the survey: (1) We looked at and surveyed the hard copy and online advertising circulars of just the top food/grocery, drug and discount chains in the three states, not other formats. (2) We only included those chains that are promoting one dozen long-stemmed red roses in either their weekly advertising circulars/flyers or via their Web site ads, or both. And we might has missed a couple. We aren't claiming we did a scientific, random sample study. It's merely a survey of chains offering promotions on the dozen red roses via printed-digital media. (3) If retail chains are offering the dozen red roses on promotion only in-store, they are not included in our survey. That means there could be a grocery, drug or discount retailer or two (or more) in the three markets that's offering one dozen long-stemmed roses at a lower price than those included in our survey. We make no claims that our survey lists all of the "lowest" available prices in the three markets. We do believe the retailers listed represent the lowest-priced offering in the three markets though.

Below are the results of Fresh & Easy Buzz's survey of food/grocery, drug and discount format retailers in Southern California, Southern Nevada (Metro Las Vegas region) and Arizona that are promoting the lowest advertised prices we could find for one dozen long-stemmed red roses for Valentines Day 2009. It's the "Retail (Promotional Price) War of the (Red) Roses."

1. Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. Stores in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona. 1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $9.99

2. Wal-Mart. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona.
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $15.00

3. Costco. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $14.99

4. Trader Joe's. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona.
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $16.99

Note: When it comes to roses of any other color besides red, Trader Joe's is the winner. The grocer is offering a bunch of 14 long-stemmed roses in every other color (pink, white, yellow, orange, ect.) but red, for $9.99. (or a bunch of six for $6.99). That's two extra roses, but not red ones, for $9.99, the same promotional price Fresh & Easy is offering for one dozen red roses. You can read about Trader Joe's offering here. But for a dozen red roses the cost is $16.99 at Trader Joe's.

5. Kroger Co. Southern California (Ralphs, Food 4 Less), Southern Nevada (Smith's, Food 4 Less), Arizona (Fry's, Smith's, Food 4 Less). 1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $17.77

6. Albertsons. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona.
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $19.99

7. Stater Bros. Southern California
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses
Promotional Price = 19.99

8. Walgreens Drug. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona. 1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $19.99

9. Long's Drug. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona.
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $19.99

10. Target. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona.
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $19.99

11. Safeway Stores, Inc. Stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada (Vons) and Arizona (Safeway). 1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $21.99.

Note: Safeway/Vons also is offering a coupon for an additional $4-off the $21.99 promotional price of shoppers purchase a minimum of two Hallmark Valentine's Day greeting cards with a minimum price of $1.00 for the cards.

12. Bashas. Arizona
1 dozen long-stemmed red roses.
Promotional Price = $21.99

Kroger Co. (Ralphs and Food 4 Less) and Safeway (Vons) are the top two (in market share) grocery chains in Southern California and Southern Nevada. Albertson's and Stater Bros. round out the top four in Southern California. Kroger and Safeway also are the top chains in Southern Nevada. Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and Bashas are the top four chains in Arizona. In other words, we've included the market share leaders in all three market regions in this survey.

As with all products -- and especially a super-significant gift item like a dozen long-stemmed red roses for Valentine's Day -- value doesn't mean just price. It means which dozen red roses are of the relative best quality (look, how long will they last, ect.) for the best price. That equals value.

For example, spending $5 or even $10 more for a bunch of one dozen red roses that is superior in quality can actually be a bargain, depending on who the gift is for. Having them last beyond the next day also offers benefits, as well as perhaps saving embarrassment to the giver, particularly if your are trying to make an impression on a potential sweetheart or significant other. We make no representation in this survey as to the quality of any of the red roses being offered by these retailers.

What we do know though is that the prices represented by the retailers listed above are among the lowest we've seen across the board for Valentine's Day in many years. It's clear the retailers "get it" and are offering good prices in this severe recession.

Of course, in terms of quality there is no doubt that there are cheap red roses and absolutely stunning ones. And many of the food/grocery chains, particularly Safeway and Kroger, are offering super-premium bunches of one dozen long-stemmed red roses at higher prices. Safeway, for example, is offering a super-premium red rose full arrangement in its advertising circular this week for $49.99, along with over a dozen other Valentine's Day 2009 floral arrangements, ranging from $6.99 mixed bouquets on up, including floral shop-quality orchids and many other varieties.

But when it comes to this year's "Valentines Day Retail (Promotion Price) War of the (Red) Roses," Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market beats out all the others we've surveyed with its $9.99 per dozen bunch of long-stemmed red roses. At $9.99 for the dozen, Tesco's Fresh & Easy beats out number two Wal-Mart ($15.00 dozen) by $5.01. Therefore, Fresh & Easy is the winner.

[Reader Note: Fresh & Easy Buzz is an independent Blog. We have no affiliation with Tesco, Tesco's Fresh & Easy, or any other food and grocery or other format retailer. You can follow Fresh & Easy Buzz on at:]


Anonymous said...

Pfft.. If we could've kept them in stock, we would've sold hundreds of these roses. The buyers let the customers, and us down, by not planning well enough. Every store I've talked to was out of roses by noon each day, leaving many disappointed customers. Some, which had heard our ads on the radio, and swore never to return after a disappointing first visit. Someone needs to get their act together. It's been a year, this "we're a new store, and still learning" excuse can only last so long.

Anonymous said...

Tell me about it. I'm a regular reader of the Buzz and saw your post about the $9.99 roses. Went to 2 fresh & easy stores last night. Both out of stock. Tried one today. Out as well. In Southern CA. Vons had plenty. So bought a nice dozen there.

Taurino Bulls Soccer Club said...

truth be told if you want to get in on a great deal sometimes you have to rush in to get it. 9.99 is a deal too good to be true in this market, and f&e really rocked it out. as a customer if you can't understand that, as an EMPLOYEE if you can't get that and you have to sit there and bash f&e on a blog, that's pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

Fresh & Easy employee, Did you guys offer rainchecks to the customers for the out of stock $9.99 roses? I know that doesn't help much when a shopper is looking for the roses right away as a gift. But can help satisfy them a little as opposed to nothing.

Anonymous said...

Cass: If you read her post you will see she isn't saying the store ran out on Valentine's Day or even the day before. What she is saying is the store ran out way before that and that the store workers told the buyers in the first place to make sure an order more than they did. That's all about planning. She is correct. You are misrepresenting what she said.

Anonymous said...

I'll Clarify my post more if you'd like.

Feb 11th, roses were due to arrive. We got 8 dozen, that's it. Each day after that, we got 4-8 buckets (24-48 dozen). Never once did we have roses in stock for more than an hour or two. Each day we called and emailed numerous times to request more flowers, customer really wanted them, but the DC could not provide. We told the DC, the District manager, the Floral company, you name it.

As employees, our jobs (and our bonuses) are fulfilled by being able to please our customers, and build loyalty. When we aren't provided with the info and stock on hand to do so, it puts us in the position of disappointing those customers, again.. and again.

F&E doesn't do rainchecks unfortunately, many customer do ask however, and we have to tell them no. We do however now have about 25 dozen dying roses that arrived the day or two after Valentine's.

Hopefully this clears up my post a little more. I'm not out to BASH F&E, I just would like them to learn from mistakes, implement changes, and continue to grow. I love the company, and intend to be here for the long run.

On Valentine's day, we were out of roses in 7 minutes.. 7 minutes!

Anonymous said...

guadagno @FreshNEasyBuzz Our store in Chandler, AZ was out on Saturday (although I think the employee said Friday)
7:33 AM Feb 15th from TweetDeck in reply to FreshNEasyBuzz reply to FreshNEasyBuzz