Well, I know what you are thinking: their competition getting fiercer than ever, especially with Walmart introducing a program called Savings Catcher that automatically honors their competitors' advertised pricing, and Market Basket opening 5 new stores just months after recovering from its boycott.
However, the bad rap that Shaw's about their ridiculous pricing has progressively been solved over the recent few months. As a bonus, their specials have been second to none, as they have been undercutting their closest competitors for a number of high volume items. As an added bonus, a $5 off any $50 purchase coupon is available to print from recyclebank.com at anytime. As a hidden tip, you can print a second coupon out by hitting the back button after you have printed your first one.
All throughout their grocery aisles, they have great stock up sales, which has yielded some great bargains. Though, one thing is clear: almost everything they still have overpriced can be substituted for an item at a competitive price, or at times a bargain.
Also, a little research showed me that they had a shortage of Cuisinart pans, which was tied to a promotion in which you received a stamp for every $10 in groceries you purchased September through December. Shoppers could redeem their stamps for free cookware, which 60 to 150 stamps were required to get any particular item. As someone who was a Delhaize shareholder, which owns Hannaford, I sold my stock based on this information and the fact that technical indicators were hinting on a possible drop in their stock price.
Especially as a shopper who values good perishable item quality and prices, Shaw's has been turning up the heat. First and foremost, i have seen nothing but the best quality veggies averaging what the competition charges. In particular, I paid a little more for cucumbers and a little less for green peppers as for vegetables that I need for the week. As for fruit, I always get two items of whatever is on sale. I was impressed that blueberries were very fresh for being in the middle of winter, and the only fresh blueberries that I have gotten better than these in recent years were ones that I picked at a local pick your own farm in the summer. In addition, these blueberries were sale priced $.49 under what the leading competitor put them on sale for the following week I bought these. I also bought 2 cantaloupes, which were fresh, and $1 each under a recent sale price of their leading competitor.
Now, on to the deli! Hummus is a staple that I live on, and Shaw's always seems to be running a deal in which you can get hummus at or lower than what you pay at their leading local competitor. This week, it was Tribe hummus at buy 1 @$3.49 get 1 free. But wait, there were $2 off store coupons on 4 of these containers as they were expiring in 3 days, which meant they credited me $1.02 for the 4 that I bought. I bought two more with better expiration dates on them for $3.49 total.
The seafood that was right next to it was on average what you would pay at other stores and looked good in terms of quality, albeit there was no unadvertised specials, which run unexpectedly quite often in their stores. These specials have netted me bargains on good quality fish, such as $3.99/lb for frozen cod, $4.99/lb for fresh haddock, $3.99/lb for fresh bluefish, and $9.99/lb for fresh scallops within the past months. Unlike other stores, they definitely get rid of their inventory when people can still enjoy what they buy. Also, they have great service when they are out of stock on anything - once they offered me their individually quick frozen cod for $3.49/lb when they had their promotional $4.99/lb frozen cod from the fish display out of stock, plus a raincheck to buy the advertised item. I went back two weeks later to redeem the raincheck and they happened to be out of stock again! No problem, they sold the fresh cod to me at $4.99/lb - definitely that was a loss for them, but they did that to keep me satisfied.
Now, you may argue that their deli is expensive, which in many cases I would agree with you. However, they do have a new deli turkey which is roasted in-store. The clean taste that has just the right amount of moistness tastes better than most store's all natural turkey, and about as healthy as this, while you are skipping the most common preservatives found in other deli meats, including nitrates. While it is tough to compare with other stores, it is well-priced at $7.99 in my store. Also, Van's waffles were 50% off, which made them $2 per box. Paper towels were $2.99 for a package of 6 good quality rolls, which is at least $1 savings over the other store's promotional pricing.
Thinking about all these dynamics, the past few orders that I have done at Shaw's would have cost me more, on average, after all promotional savings and their $5 off a $50 purchase coupon always available on www.recyclebank.com. Since their competitors are generally larger and significantly more busy, it is only a matter of time until people discover that they are not saving as much as they thought by putting up with the bustling crowds at their leading competitors.
Needless to say, Shaw's and its sister banners still needs to disassociate themselves with Supervalu, as Supervalu still provides IT services and all store brand products. Fully disassociating themselves from Supervalu will allow them to further reinvest into improving their stores. While they have made some improvements in their more lucrative Downtown Boston locations, renovating their suburban locations can provide them with some great dividends.