Contact: Marie L. McGeehan at Casey Communications, Inc., 314/962-0944, or Dee Wetzel at Schnuck Markets, Inc., 314/994-4608.

March 20, 1998

Schnucks Helps St. Charles County Residents Save Time Running to the Grocery Store with On-Line Shopping from Schnucks' Home Shopping Club

ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets, Inc. will help busy St. Charles County area residents reduce the number of trips to the grocery store with the expansion of its Home Shopping Club on-line shopping service to customers in 12 zip code areas beginning March 23. St. Charles County area residents will be able to order groceries by accessing Schnucks' home page on the Internet and have their orders delivered.

Residents of Cottleville, Defiance, Flinthill, Foristell, Lake St. Louis, New Melle, O'Fallon, St. Charles, St. Peters and Wentzville will gain access to the area's first full-scope, on- line grocery shopping service. Customers can select from more than 15,000 products available at area Schnucks. The service area expansion includes zip codes 63301, 63303, 63304, 63338, 63341, 63346, 63348, 63365, 63366, 63367, 63376 and 63385. The area includes more than 90,000 households with a population of nearly 260,000 residents.

Customers can access the Home Shopping Club through the Schnucks home page at www.schnucks.com.

Schnucks Home Shopping Club was first introduced last June, making it immediately available to 1.1 million residents living in 456,000 households in 52 Missouri zip codes in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, plus Arnold and Fenton in northern Jefferson County. Service expanded to 96,000 households and 257,000 residents in eight zip code areas in north St. Louis County in late summer.

"We are very excited to expand our Home Shopping Club service to customers in St. Charles County," said Scott C. Schnuck, president and chief operating officer of Schnucks. "We wanted to ensure we could provide the same quality of service we have developed on the St. Louis side of the river before we expanded. Our customers love the convenience of shopping from home and we think St. Charles County customers will appreciate the modifications we have made since introducing the service," Schnuck said.

The Home Shopping Club offers first-time users a step-by-step guide to placing an order. The "Frequently Asked Questions" answers many of the most popular questions customers have when using the service.

Home Shopping Club delivers seven days a week. Customers can select from delivery times of 10 a.m. to noon and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday deliveries are made between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Orders can be delivered the same day if ordered by 11 a.m. or the next morning if ordered by 7 p.m.

Home Shopping Club same-day delivery costs $12.95. Next-day delivery costs $9.95. Home Shopping Club estimates delivery cost at the end of the on-line shopping trip. On-line shoppers can pay with credit card when ordering or by check upon delivery. Schnucks uses the latest encryption technology to ensure personal information, such as a credit card number, is not intercepted by a third party.

Customer orders will be shopped and delivered from the Schnucks Dardenne Crossing store at Highways K and N by J.S. Express. J.S. Express also handles delivery in the St. Louis area. J.S.Express Home Shopping Club staff wear Schnucks Home Shopping Club shirts for easy identification.

Customers visiting the on-line Schnucks will find their favorite products in the same department as at their neighborhood Schnucks. For example, an on-line shopper will click on "Dairy Department" to review lists of milk, cheese and other dairy products.

Since introducing the service, Schnucks has added several features suggested by users to make the service easier and quicker to use. A "Search" function helps customers find a product when they do not know what "department" stocks it. Customers also can instantly build a "favorites" list as they shop. Most product listings include a full-color product photo to facilitate selection.

"The leading category of user for Schnucks Home Shopping Club are members of two- income households stretched for time," said Larry Maggio, director of marketing services. Schnucks' experience matches research that shows three out of four on-line shoppers are women and most are between 25 and 50 years old. About half of all on-line users have children under 18 and even more work in management positions. "Senior citizens also use the service a lot," said Maggio. "That number would probably be higher if more seniors had computers."

Schnucks makes it easy for customers to get on the Internet if they are not on-line yet. Schnucks offers POSTnet Internet access kits for 99 cents in St. Louis metropolitan area stores and video superstores.

When Schnucks customers buy the start-up kit, they will receive customized POSTnet software including Microsoft Internet Explorer, an easy-to-follow surfer's manual and a special discounted subscription with the 13th month free. Monthly subscription cost is $19.95.

A POSTnet subscription provides complete access to the POSTnet web site; up to 5 E- mail addresses; expert technical service advice 14 hours a day; and a 30-day money back guarantee on the subscription. POSTnet constantly monitors its all-digital network to ensure excellent quality connectivity and absolutely no busy signals.

On-line shopping for groceries has become more popular throughout the country in the past year. Experts predict that somewhere between three percent and 15 percent of grocery shopping will be done on-line within three years. 1997 supermarket sales totaled more than $300 billion according to the Food Marketing Institute. "The potential for this on-line service could be huge," said Schnuck.

Schnuck said he has been pleased with the number of customers using the service. "We have had enthusiastic reception of Home Shopping Club and we are seeing continued growth in use. Best of all, we believe we are helping many of our customers ease time management stress and transportation dilemmas," said Schnuck.

Schnucks Home Shopping Club was first introduced in June 1997 to customers in St. Louis, where Schnucks headquarters is located. It is the latest addition to the Schnucks home page, launched in May 1996. Since then, thousands of Internet users have visited the home page each month, including hundreds of shoppers making floral purchases. In 1997, the Schnucks home page was selected from 10,000 sites as one of the Top 100 Web sites by Computerworld, a leading computer technology journal.

In addition to the Home Shopping Club, the Schnucks home page offers other features, including:

  • Recipe link for customers to sort through thousands of recipes by category or nutritional content;
  • Directory of Schnucks stores by geographic location and services provided;
  • E-mail link to Schnucks' consumer affairs department for easy communication of questions or comments about Schnucks' products and services;
  • Place floral orders for delivery locally or anywhere in the world;
  • Preview ready-to-eat fresh foods, including party platters, deli items, sandwiches and custom cakes; and
  • Information on entertainment venues and ticket agencies, including a seating chart of Busch Memorial Stadium.

    Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 86 stores in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The family-owned company was founded in St. Louis in 1939.