Thursday is the new Sunday in the eyes of Cub Foods.
Prices in weekly ads that display sale items used to be in effect Sunday through the following Saturday. Early last month, Cub Foods changed the ad cycle to Thursday through Wednesday.
Customers who look for the print ad in Sunday newspapers now find a new calendar at the bottom of the first page, though not everyone sees it.
“When I look at the ad in Sunday’s paper, I don’t know if they’re good now or for next Thursday,” said Fred Fuehrer of Edina. “Cub is a good store and a good operation, but I think they’re making a mistake confusing their customers.”
The ad that runs in the Sunday paper started the previous Thursday and is valid through the following Wednesday.
Cub Foods spokesman Jeff Swanson said that Supervalu, which owns Cub, did not intend to take anything away from its customers by the change.
“We feel bad there’s been a concern about the change, but the change is rooted in doing what’s best for customers,” he said.
Saturdays and Sundays are Cub’s two busiest shopping days, Swanson said, but the old system meant that in-store displays were being switched during busy shopping times, an inconvenience for customers.
And occasionally, items were out of stock by Saturday, the last day of the sale in the previous system.
The new cycle minimizes the chances for out-of-stock items, Swanson said.
Supermarket analyst David Livingston in Milwaukee sees the ad shift as a reaction to an increasingly competitive marketplace. Aldi, Hy-Vee and Fresh Thyme have multiple locations in the Twin Cities and are opening more later this year.
“Cub is using what tools it has at its disposal to make a difference,” he said.
Jill Lyon of Minnetonka described the shift as “seismic” at first but then said she thinks with items occasionally being out of stock on Saturdays, the change makes sense.
“I was worried that they were driving us to online or mobile apps, neither of which appeal to me,” Lyon said. She will miss being able to take advantage of two different sales each weekend, but she likes that she can view the current and future ads concurrently online on Wednesdays.
The Thursday-through-Wednesday cycle is commonly used at other supermarket retailers throughout the country. Locally, Lunds & Byerlys has been using the schedule for 13 years. Fresh Thyme, which has five locations in the Twin Cities and one in St. Cloud, operates on a Wednesday through Wednesday cycle, allowing consumers to shop two overlapping ads on Wednesdays.
Supervalu has been considering the change for some time, Swanson said. The change aligns the brand with Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, another banner under the Supervalu umbrella. Shoppers runs a Thursday-Wednesday ad and Hornbacher’s, Shop ’n Save and Farm Fresh use Wednesday to Tuesday ads.
For now, Cub’s coupon booklets that come out every two weeks still start on a Sunday and are good for two weeks. Swanson said that Cub also will change the coupon booklets to start on a Thursday, but he didn’t know when the switch would occur.
Karina Krecklow of Minneapolis, shopping at the Southdale Cub on Tuesday, said she thinks the change is a good idea. It allows her to coordinate her shopping with Fresh Thyme and Lunds & Byerlys.
“This should be better for weekend shoppers,” she said. “It allows me to look ahead and plan better.”