Giant Eagle on Wednesday announced what it calls its largest price reduction ever — on 3,000 items.
The Pittsburgh-based grocer said on average, prices on national and Giant Eagle brand items will be 15 percent lower.
The company said most of the reductions went into effect on Wednesday with the majority taking place by April 11. Shoppers will see a yellow “new lower price” tag on shelves.
The decision marked another step in an advertising battle on prices principally between Giant Eagle and Walmart.
Walmart first targeted Giant Eagle in its Northeast Ohio and Pittsburgh markets with print and television ads.
In a “See For Yourself” ad campaign that was published in the Beacon Journal in January, Walmart displayed register receipts for identical items sold at a Pearl Road Walmart and Court Street Giant Eagle, both in Medina, and noted the shopper could have saved 16 percent at Walmart.
Giant Eagle hit back with an ad showing receipts from Giant Eagle and Walmart in Streetsboro. The ad said Giant Eagle’s pricing came out on top. “The lowest prices aren’t always at Walmart,” the ad said.
Giant Eagle ads also highlighted weekly specials, its gasoline program called Fuel Perks, double coupons up to 99 cents, acceptance of competitor coupons and high quality food, said Rob Borella, senior director of corporate communications for Giant Eagle in a telephone interview.
Asked if Wednesday’s announcement about price reductions was made in response to a price war with Walmart, Borella said, “There’s more than Walmart.”
“We get it from all sides,” Borella said, noting competition from many retailers.
“On any given week, although we’re all competitively priced, any competitor could be the lowest,” he said.
The reductions announced Wednesday will remain indefinitely and are different from what were called seasonal “price lock” reductions that Giant Eagle has had, Borella said.
In an email response requesting comment about Giant Eagle’s price reductions, Erica Jones, Walmart senior manager of communications, said: “The positive feedback we’ve received regarding our ad campaign is a reflection of how much consumers appreciate being educated about where to find the best value in their community. We know competitors don’t like it when we tell customers to compare prices and see for themselves but we think consumers deserve every chance to find value. We will continue to be an advocate for customers and educate them ...”
Acme Fresh Markets Executive Vice President Jim Trout declined comment when asked about the price and ad war between the Akron-based grocer’s competitors.
Giant Eagle also announced Wednesday that it will make a six-figure donation — officials would not divulge an exact amount — to food banks in Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh to buy 500,000 meals.
Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan said the grocer was still finalizing the details, but confirmed that the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank would be a recipient of some of the funds.
Giant Eagle has 229 supermarkets and 187 fuel and convenience stores through western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia and Maryland. In the Akron-Canton area, including Summit, Stark, Portage and Medina counties, the company has 30 stores. None is in Wayne County.