Dozens of stores to remain closed on Thanksgiving night

Published: Monday, November 09, 2015 @ 12:32 PM
Updated: Monday, November 09, 2015 @ 12:32 PM

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Thanksgiving and Black Friday have all but merged with stores now opening their doors on Thursday night for shoppers to take advantage of holiday deals. Excited consumers flood retailers on Thanksgiving night to get a head start on crowds, but many say that isn't fair for the employees who have to work that night.

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Critics have argued that stores should remain closed to allow workers to spend time with their families on the federal holiday. 

Some stores have listened.

According to BestBlackFriday.com, these stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day:

• A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts

• Ace Hardware

• American Girl

• AT&T

• Barne's & Noble

• Bed Bath & Beyond

• BJ’s Wholesale Club

• Burlington

• Cabela's

• Costco

• Crate and Barrel

• Dillard’s

• DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse

• GameStop

• Gardner-White Furniture

• Half Price Books

• Harbor Freight

• Hobby Lobby

• Home Depot

• HomeGoods

• IKEA

• Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts

• Lowe’s

• Marshalls

• Mattress Firm

• Neiman Marcus

• Nordstrom

• Patagonia

• P.C. Richard & Son

• Petco

• PetSmart

• Pier 1 Imports

• Publix

• Reymour & Flanigan

• REI

• Saks Fifth Avenue

• Sam’s Club

• Sierra Trading Post

• Staples 

• Sur La Table

• T.J. Maxx

• The Container Store

• Tractor Supply Co.

• True Value

• Von Maur

Read more here

Prices fall when this grocer comes to town, new study finds

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

Could Lidl come to your neighborhood?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the German grocer Lidl enters a new market, other grocery stores respond by lowering prices to stay competitive, according to a new study from UNC-Chapel Hill.

The low-priced grocer made a splash this summer when it first entered the U.S. with stores in the Carolinas and Virginia. Experts have said its effect could be as significant as Amazon’s is on other retailers. According to the UNC study, competing grocers near Lidl stores set their prices 9.3 percent lower on average than in markets where Lidl is not present.

The report, commissioned by Lidl, was conducted independently by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and researchers had full discretion of the study without Lidl’s input, according to Katrijn Gielens, an associate professor of marketing at UNC who led the study.

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Still, the findings skewed favorably for Lidl over competitors, including Aldi, Food Lion, Walmart, Publix and Kroger.

“Without a doubt, (Lidl is) putting extra pressure on retail prices,” Gielens said in a call with reporters Wednesday.

The study examined 48 commonly purchased private label products from a variety of categories, including dairy products, meats, produce, canned food and frozen goods. It examined Lidl stores and competitors in six markets in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The study found that supermarkets in proximity to Lidl stores set their grocery prices up to 55 percent cheaper compared with stores in markets without Lidls. (Competing stores were within a 1.7-mile radius of the nearest Lidl, according to the study.)

» If you think grocery stores are playing tricks on you, they really are

“The University of North Carolina study validates what we have seen on the ground in every market since launching our stores,” Lidl spokesman Will Harwood said in an email.

As Lidl continues to expand throughout the U.S., other grocers will continue to slash prices, according to the study.

“It is not yet clear who the retail winners will be as the grocery price wars evolve, but there is little doubt that consumers will benefit as retailers are forced to continue dropping prices and offer more convenient shopping services in order to stay competitive,” the study stated.

This summer, the Observer conducted an analysis of the lowest prices of five staple items – a dozen large eggs, a gallon of skim milk, a loaf of white bread, ketchup and 1 pound of lean ground beef – at nine Charlotte grocery stores. We found that Aldi had the cheapest total: $7.69. At Lidl, which expanded here after the analysis, that same list of items was $6.29.

» Walmart sets its sights on shopping via virtual reality

The UNC study revealed that consumers experience significant cost-savings when shopping in areas where Lidl has already expanded. Here are some additional results about cost-saving in Lidl markets:

—Aldi lowered prices by an average of 13.9 percent (savings of $14).

—Food Lion lowered prices by an average of 13.6 percent (savings of $17).

—Kroger lowered prices by an average of 10.1 percent (savings of $22).

—Publix lowered prices by an average of 3.9 percent (savings of $7).

—Walmart lowered prices by an average of 2.5 percent (savings of $3).

Here are the big coupon deals of the week

Published: Saturday, January 13, 2018 @ 12:00 AM


            Nexium
Nexium

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods.

Colgate Toothbrush

This week at Walgreens, select varieties of Colgate toothbrushes are on sale for $2.99 each. Use the $1 off one Colgate 360 or floss tip toothbrush coupon found in the January 7 SmartSource inserts. Visit www.walgreens.com/coupons and you can also add a $2 off one Colgate toothbrush coupon to your card. With these deals combined, you will get this item for free.

Fixodent Adhesive

This week at CVS, Fixodent Adhesive is on sale two for $10. Use two copies of the $2.50 off one Fixodent Adhesive coupon from the Dec. 31 Procter & Gamble insert. When you buy two, you will also get $3 in Extra Care Bucks good off your next purchase. When you factor in these savings, you will ultimately get this item for $1 each when you buy two in total.

Garnier Fructis Hair Care

This week at CVS, Garnier Fructis shampoos and conditioners are on sale two for $7 or $3.79 each. Use the $3 off two Garnier Fructis shampoos, conditioners, treatments or styling products coupon from the Jan. 7 RedPlum insert. When you spend at least $9, you will also receive $3 in Extra Care Bucks good off your next purchase. With these savings combined, when you buy three in total, you will pay just $1.60 per container.

Gillette or Venus Razors

This week at Rite-Aid, Gillette or Venus disposable razors are on sale for $6.99. Use the $3 off one Gillette or Venus razor coupon from the Dec. 31 Proctor & Gamble inserts and you will end up paying just $3.99 for this item.

Huggies Diapers

This week at Walgreens, select varieties of Huggies diapers are on sale two for $18 or $12.99 each. You will want to buy three packs in total. Use the $2 off one Huggies diaper coupon found in the Jan. 7 SmartSource insert. Also, use the $2 off one Huggies diaper coupon found by visiting www.coupons.com. Lastly, visit www.walgreens.com/coupons and add another $2 off one Huggies diapers coupon to your card. When you spend at least $30 on this item you will get an additional $10 back in Register Rewards good off your next purchase. With all of these deals combined, you will pay just $4.99 per package when you buy three in total.

Nexium 24HR

This week at Rite-Aid, a 14-count of Nexium 24HR is on sale for $10. The 28-count of Nexium 24HR is on sale for $20. Use the $2 off one Nexium 24HR product coupon from the December 3 RedPlum insert as well as the $2 off one Nexium 24HR product coupon from the Jan. 7 RedPlum insert. When you spend $30 on this item, you will get $10 back in Wellness+ Bonus Cash, which is added to your Plenti card and redeemable during your next visit. With these deals combined, you will pay just $8 per container when you buy two in total.

Decadent gift ideas from one of the best places for chocolate in the world

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

The Salted butter caramels are one of Madame Delluc's best sellers. Customize your box at the counter. (Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen)
The Salted butter caramels are one of Madame Delluc's best sellers. Customize your box at the counter. (Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen)

In 2016, Conde Nast hailed it as one of the “Best Chocolates in the World.”

Earlier this year, CNN named the company one of the “15 Happiest Places in the World.”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop listed it as one of the things “Women Really Want for Valentine’s Day” in 2016.

There’s a lot of buzz around the chocolate that Oakwood’s Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier shop carries, and for good reason. It’s fabulous.

The chocolates it carries that are handmade in Brussels, Belgium, are intoxicatingly delicious and beautiful to behold. They make great gifts for anyone on your list.

The best part: you can shop for most of this online with a $25 purchase or more at www.francoiseimports.com and get it shipped to you. Or you can shop and have it ready for pick-up.

WANT TO GO?

What: Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier

Where: 2510 Far Hills Ave. in the Shops of Oakwood

More information: Call 937-356-8890 or visit www.francoiseimports.com

CHOCOLATE GIFT IDEAS

Here are a few items we found on a recent visit that are ready to gift and sure to impress whoever is on the receiving end.

>> Oakwood chocolate shop scores national shout-out

>> The best places to get chocolate in Dayton

Madame Delluc in Oakwood is open and ready for holiday business. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

This six-piece chocolate set retails for $12.95. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

The Ecailler Royale has beautiful new packaging. This large set retails for $79.50. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

These are some of our favorites chocolate covered ginger and chocolate covered candied orange peel. The bag retails for $16.95 and is one of the best values in the store. The ginger is perfect addition to your next holiday party. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

The mild chocolate mousse with nougatine. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

Customize your chocolate box at the counter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

Another great holiday gift idea the Madame Delluc Cacao en Poudre for $19.95. Your hot cocoa will never taste the same again. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

The Reglette is a six-piece chocolate set that retails for $12.95. It’s a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer. Note how they used the box in the background to create a little winterscape. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

Beautiful new packaging has arrived for the holiday season. The 8-piece chocolate in this specialty box retails for $22.95. When you are done, it will hold your colored pencils perfectly. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

The Salted butter caramels are one of Madame Delluc's best sellers. Customize your box at the counter. (Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen)
Champagne truffles are also extremely popular. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Staff Writer)

Everything you wanted to know about holiday returns

Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 3:18 PM

1. Athlete collage t-shirts 2. NFL salt crystal lamp 3. Potty basketball 4. LeBron James ornament 5. Movie character uniforms 6. Team pacifiers 7. Sports-themed yarmulke 8. Glitter stiletto heels with team logos 9. Sandwich press that presses logos 10. NFL team slow cooker

Was the holiday gift you received the wrong size, or just not what you hoped for?

The good news is you have extra time to return that ill-fitting sweater or those duplicate games. The bad news? The specifics of many retailers’ return policies don’t usually change just because it’s the holidays.

“As a general rule of thumb, for holiday returns, the only real difference tends to be is you have a longer window for returning the item. Where people maybe get tripped up is that all the other requirements tend to stay in place,” said Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing with DealNews.

» Got a gift card this holiday? Here’s how to spend it wisely

Some stores, like Nordstrom, LL Bean and Kohl’s have fairly consumer-friendly exchange policies, but other retailers like the Apple Store, Best Buy and Sears have rigid policies, and some may have a restocking fee on certain items, said Sakraida and Donna Rosato, money editor for Consumer Reports.

If you have a return, check the store’s website so you understand the policy ahead of time. That may save you time and effort when trying to bring something back. Sakraida and Rosato offered tips on how to make returning a gift less of a hassle.

Bring a receipt. Having the receipt will make the exchange much less stressful, they said. Returning an item right away with the receipt in hand will most likely result in you getting cash back, Sakraida said.

“If you go outside of that (holiday return) window, many do really push for store credit because that’s their store policy,” she said.

If you don’t have a receipt, you may only get store credit and you also may only get back the lowest price the item sold for recently, Rosato said.

If the product was bought online, it may be a bit harder to return since any exchanges are usually tied to the buyer’s account, Sakraida said. Most retailers that have physical and online presences are fine with returning a product bought online to their bricks-and-mortar location, she added.

If you’re trying to return seasonal items, like holiday decorations, without a receipt, customer service agents might give you the side eye, Sakraida said. “Stores really don’t want to have those items returned because they are very difficult to move when you’ve returned them. Sometimes it’s met with a bit of skepticism, like if you bought it to use it and returned it,” she said.

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Bring ID. Don’t be surprised (or offended) if a store asks to see an ID when you’re making a return, especially if you don’t have a receipt. It’s a way for stores to combat theft, as some thieves try to return a stolen item and get cash for it, Sakraida said.

Rosato said some chains, including Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret, use computerized return-authorization systems to detect abuse. “Merchants scan and store data from your ID to track your history, noting such factors as the frequency of your returns, their dollar value, how often you return items without a receipt, and the time between returns,” she said.

Don’t open the box. Leave on tags, keep boxed items — especially electronics — intact if you think you might return it. Opened merchandise may be subject to a restocking fee, often 15 percent of the purchase price, Rosato said. For products like software and games, retailers may not take back opened items unless they’re defective.

Go early and be nice. Tensions can run a little high in stores after the holidays, so it pays to be nice to store employees and go early if you need to return something.

“One of the biggest tips I would give someone for returning something after the holidays is to do whatever you can to have a good, positive interaction with a customer service agent,” Sakraida said.

» 5 tips to keep your holiday packages safe from porch pirates

Try to go early, when the store has just opened and it’s not busy yet. If customer service agents aren’t swamped, they may be a little more accommodating in helping you, even if you don’t have a receipt. When they have time, they may be able to look up the purchase if it was made with a credit card. They also might have a little bit of flexibility within the return policy, she said.

Agents are trained to help customers get what they need, but that can be harder at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday when there’s a long line of aggravated people, she said.

“Customer service people definitely take a beating, as shoppers tend to come in with their own personal frustrations and take it out on one person when they’re frustrated with the store at large. And the agents have to grin and bear it. I think they’re appreciative when people are reasonable,” she said.