U.S. Coupon Market Posts Record-breaking Distribution and Redemption Numbers in 2009

Shoppers Save Nearly $3.5 Billion by Using Coupons

Jan 29, 2010, 13:14 ET from Valassis

LIVONIA, Mich., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Valassis (NYSE: VCI), one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that shoppers saved nearly $3.5 billion with coupons in 2009, according to the Year-end 2009 Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Coupon Industry Facts Report recently released by NCH Marketing Services, Inc., a Valassis company.  A record number of coupons in the marketplace contributed to this increase of $800 million, or nearly 30% more than 2008.

CPG coupon distribution increased by 11% from 2008, to a total of 311 billion coupons distributed in 2009 – the largest single-year distribution quantity ever recorded. The majority of 2009 coupon distribution growth occurred as marketers chose to put paper coupons in the hands of consumers in a variety of different ways to stimulate product purchase decisions last year. Consumers redeemed nearly 3.2 billion coupons in 2009, a 23% increase over the prior year. This growth represented the second-highest increase ever recorded for year-over-year coupon redemption. Marketers also increased the average face value of coupons – up to $1.41 in 2009 from $1.29 in 2008.

"With interest in coupons by consumers at an all-time high and lasting savings habits being formed, we expect that coupons will continue to be an important tool marketers will use to reach and motivate consumers in 2010 and beyond," said Suzie Brown, Valassis Chief Marketing Officer. "Through our consumer brand, RedPlum, we deliver savings and deals to over 100 million shoppers a week. These findings indicate our RedPlum portfolio is incredibly well positioned to deliver the values consumers are seeking today and tomorrow."

Personal economic situations are causing consumers to make changes in savings and lifestyle habits. Over 30% of respondents to a 2009 NCH Consumer Survey indicated they are now more careful about remembering to bring their coupons to the store, with 74% stating they would maintain this new habit. Twenty-five percent of respondents also said they are now clipping more coupons than in the past.

"The state of the economy is influencing manufacturers and consumers as it relates to both distribution and redemption," said Charlie Brown, NCH Vice President of Marketing. "This recession has been long enough and unemployment has been high enough, to have placed a greater emphasis on spending and savings habits since the last period of deep U.S. recession in the early 1990's."

In addition, results from NCH consumer surveys indicate 88% of respondents plan shopping lists using coupons, up 10 percentage points from before the recession began. Seventy-seven percent of respondents also indicated they regularly use coupons, up from 64% in 2007.

About Valassis

Valassis is one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, offering unparalleled reach and scale to more than 15,000 advertisers. Its RedPlum media portfolio delivers value on a weekly basis to over 100 million shoppers across a multi-media platform – in-home, in-store and in-motion. Through its interactive offering – redplum.com – consumers will find compelling national and local deals online. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan with approximately 7,000 associates in 28 states and eight countries, Valassis is widely recognized for its associate and corporate citizenship programs, including its America's Looking for Its Missing Children® program. Valassis companies include Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., Valassis Canada, Promotion Watch, Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems, LLC and NCH Marketing Services, Inc.  For more information, visit http://www.valassis.com or http://www.redplum.com. To learn about advertising opportunities with RedPlum, please call 1-800-437-0479.

Safe Harbor and Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements found in this document constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following: price competition from our existing competitors; new competitors in any of our businesses; a shift in client preference for different promotional materials, strategies or coupon delivery methods, including, without limitation, as a result of declines in newspaper circulation; an unforeseen increase in paper or postal costs; changes which affect the businesses of our clients and lead to reduced sales promotion spending, including, without limitation, a decrease of marketing budgets which are generally discretionary in nature and easier to reduce in the short-term than other expenses; our substantial indebtedness, and ability to refinance such indebtedness, if necessary, and our ability to incur additional indebtedness, may affect our financial health; the financial condition, including bankruptcies, of our clients, suppliers, senior secured credit facility lenders or other counterparties; our ability to comply with or obtain modifications or waivers of the financial covenants contained in our debt documents; certain covenants in our debt documents could adversely restrict our financial and operating flexibility; ongoing disruptions in the credit markets that make it difficult for companies to secure financing; fluctuations in the amount, timing, pages, weight and kinds of advertising pieces from period to period, due to a change in our clients' promotional needs, inventories and other factors; our failure to attract and retain qualified personnel may affect our business and results of operations; a rise in interest rates could increase our borrowing costs; we may be required to recognize additional impairment charges against goodwill and intangible assets in the future; court approval of the settlement agreement among the parties to the pending ADVO securities class action lawsuit; our current litigation with News America Incorporated may be costly and divert management's attention; possible governmental regulation or litigation affecting aspects of our business; the credit and liquidity crisis in the financial markets could continue to affect our results of operations and financial condition; reductions of our credit ratings may have an adverse impact on our business; counterparties to our secured credit facility and interest rate swaps may not be able to fulfill their obligations due to disruptions in the global credit markets; uncertainty in the application and interpretation of applicable state sales tax laws may expose us to additional sales tax liability; and general economic conditions, whether nationally, internationally, or in the market areas in which we conduct our business, including the adverse impact of the ongoing economic downturn on the marketing expenditures and activities of our clients and prospective clients as well as our vendors, with whom we rely on to provide us with quality materials at the right prices and in a timely manner. These and other risks and uncertainties related to our business are described in greater detail in our filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including our reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q and the foregoing information should be read in conjunction with these filings.  We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Valassis