The Co-operative Food has seen a revival in savvy shoppers purchasing saving stamps in order to help spread the cost of Christmas.
Almost a year after The Co-operative launched its pioneering saving stamps trust fund, sales have soared by 40% as hard-pressed customers hark back to the old-school way of saving to finance the festive season.
As an extra incentive, customers redeeming a full saving stamps book with £48 worth of stamps this month receive £50, which means they receive a free £2 bonus.
Commonplace in households in the sixties when food budgets were notoriously tight, saving stamps were a popular way to put a little away each week. Now in 2013, with consumers again feeling the financial strain, the old-fashioned idea of paying for the festive season in advance has come to the fore.
The Co-operative is the only retailer to provide extra security for its customers’ saving stamps, by protecting funds in a trust fund, which is managed by an independent trustee.
The Co-operative Food’s trust fund was set up in response to the collapse of the Farepak Christmas Club in 2006, when nearly 120,000 people, many from low-income households, lost on average £400 each. When establishing the trust, The Co-operative worked closely with representatives of the Farepak Victims Committee,
Andrew Mann, customer director for The Co-operative Food, said: “As a responsible retailer, we are keen to help make Christmas more affordable for our customers, and our saving stamps scheme is a great way for shoppers to spread the cost of Christmas over the year.”
In addition to the saving stamps scheme, The Co-operative Food has introduced a generous Member Reward Scheme.
Between now and 15 December 2013, every time a Co-operative member, spending a minimum of £5, presents their membership card at the till they will receive a coupon*, worth the equivalent of 10% of the value of their shopping. That means if a Co-operative member spends £30.00 they will be given a voucher worth £3.00.
These 10% vouchers can be saved and used as a cash equivalent in any of the 2,800 Co-operative Group food stores across the UK until 24 December 2013.
Mann said: “Christmas is a particularly costly period for our members and their families, many of whom are under increased financial pressure, and this scheme should really help them at this special time of year.”
Vouchers will be issued to members presenting their membership card at the till in Co-operative Group food stores between now and 15 December inclusive. The vouchers will be worth the equivalent of 10% of the value of that shop with the amount rounded up to the nearest pound. The minimum spend is £5.00 (50p voucher) and the maximum spend £100 (£10). Anyone spending more than £100 will receive a £10 voucher. The vouchers will be valid until 24 December 2013 inclusive, and can be used singularly or collectively to pay for goods at Co-operative food stores.