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Internet coupons stretch commissary customers' savings

FORT LEE, Va. (AFPN) -- Commissary shoppers are among the top coupon clippers in the world, but the "clipping" part may someday be history. The Defense Commissary Agency is helping customers increase their savings by making Internet coupon links available on the agency's Web site.

"Although we sell groceries at cost, we are always seeking new resources to help our customers increase their savings," said Patrick Nixon, the agency's chief executive officer. "As the trend toward Internet coupons grows, this section of our Web site will continue to grow as well."

Along with top Web sites for military grocery coupons, the new section has a link to a new site that offers a choice of English or Spanish. For customers who prefer more traditional coupons, another link offers commissary shoppers the opportunity to sign up for coupons by mail.

According to a 2003 marketing report, military commissaries are among the top five retailers redeeming grocery coupons. The most common coupons offered are free-standing inserts typically found inserted in newspapers or made available at the commissary. But the use of Internet coupons has grown substantially, with redemption rates rivaling the inserts.

Commissaries, as well as other grocery retailers, stopped accepting home-printed coupons in September 2003 because of instances of fraud, but despite the industry ban, consumer use of Internet coupons flourished in general.

All 273 commissaries worldwide now accept computer-generated Internet coupons if they have a bar code for scanning purposes, and the coupons do not offer free products. (Courtesy of American Forces Press Service)

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