Hobby Lobby is disrupting the shopping cart for many of its customers with its plans to end a weekly 40 percent-off coupon.
Most savvy shoppers know about the big blue and white 20 percent-off Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, but it’s not the only one with a fanatic following. The arts and crafts retailer’s customers are pushing back, saying they depend on the discount to buy regularly priced items that never go on sale.
A short announcement on social media this week that said the coupons would be discontinued Feb. 28 has since been removed from the retailer’s Facebook page. It was captured and reported by USA Today and others.
“By making this decision, we are intensifying our efforts to discount thousands of items every day. This will offer a better value instead of providing a discount on only one item with the coupon,” the retailer said. “It is always our intent to provide you with beyond compare service, great prices and the best selection. We appreciate your understanding during this period of transition and thank you for your continued business.”
The retailer’s chief rival, Irving-based Michaels, the largest U.S. arts and crafts chain, has a regular 20 percent-off coupon and additional discounts to customers who provide an email address or sign up for its loyalty program. Michaels launched its rewards program in 2016, updated it last fall, and now has 50 million members.
Hobby Lobby hasn’t commented on the response from shoppers.
Hobby Lobby has issued the weekly coupon in its advertisements and on social media for some time. It arrived weekly with the same drumroll comment: “The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived: the 40 percent off coupon is here!” followed by a link.
Comments from dismayed customers remain on the retailer’s Facebook page. Many shoppers are hooked on coupons and make purchase decisions around them, adding they’ll be watching to see if it leads to lower prices.
“It is a huge mistake,” one customer said. “It brings me into the store for an item and I always find something else to buy as well.”
Another customer went the all-caps route. “Hobby Lobby … KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER!! If you do away with the coupon, you will lose a lot more sales. You will lose customers. DO NOT DO IT.”
And a third customer said the decision will result in new business for Michaels.
“I have to drive pretty far to get to Hobby Lobby, so I can’t just go back each week, hoping for my item to go on sale,” the customer wrote. “At least Michaels still has theirs. As much as I like HL, it looks like I’ll probably end up at Michaels more often now.”
Hobby Lobby has more than 900 stores in 47 states, and it hasn’t stopped opening stores, with four new store openings in January in Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The Oklahoma City-based privately held retailer also operates Mardel Christian and Education supply stores.
Story by Maria Halkias.