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Discount Rebates Just Part of Rite Aid Back to School Pitch

As noted previously in this blog, drug chains see a particular opportunity in this recessionary back to school season to sell both the value and convenience proposition they offer consumers struggling with cost and time issues involved in sending kids back to class.

Rite Aid is responding by offering bargains across a range of products, then sweetening the deal with rebates. The company will use its private labels, including Harvard Square and Office Expert but will also tap national brands including Mead Five Star, Crayola, Masterlock and Elmers.

To promote the program, the retailer developed a shopping guide available both in stores and online as part of its microsite, riteaid.rebateplus.com. Rebate Plus is a program Rite Aid has developed to help consumers organize cash-back offers and get their returns. The back to school shopping guide is folded into a regular Rebate Plus promotional piece Rite Aid distributes through its stores, a spokesman noted.

The retailer also is promoting selected rebates and other deals, including buy one get three free offers, in the weekly Rite Aid newspaper circular.

Family budgets are the issue and rather than deep discounts on key items, a tactic that destination, and would be destination, retailers are trying in electronics as back to school begins, Rite Aid is attempting to convince consumers that it can provide a wide range of bargains as well as up to $200 in student-oriented rebates that allow them to accumulate savings that best suit their particular circumstances. To maintain interest, and vary the bargains so that consumers can shop to their particular advantage, Rite Aid will update the deals it offers shoppers through the back to school period ending in September.

"We're doing everything we can to offer them many reasons to come check us out each and every week," said Greg Axtman, Rite Aid category manager for home, office and school supplies, in announcing the company's back to school promotional campaign.

Despite the focus on budgets, which can be translated into parents, Rite Aid recognizes that kids usually have a vote on what they'll be toting back to school, and the retailer wanted to address their sensibilities. So, for example, backpacks, satchels, lunch sacks and beverage containers come sporting lively colors, while notebooks and binders feature designer patterns. The selection may be bright and bouncy, but deals and rebates keep things family budget friendly across the back to school selection.

For younger students, licensed items such as Bakugan and Hannah Montana accessories provide an opportunity for expression, while, for collegians, electronic accoutrements ranging from optical mouse models to flat-panel miniature speakers to electronic translators can make studying and study breaks a bit more interesting. Rite Aid builds on its back to college assortment to boost dorm room offerings such as office supplies and laptop caddies, which might fit nicely with one of the deep-discounted laptops the above-mentioned destination and wannabe destination â€" i.e. Best Buy and Wal-Mart â€" have been pushing so hard.