A POPULAR discount voucher scheme operated by Irish supermarket chain Dunnes Stores has changed its terms and conditions in the run-up to Christmas.
The long-running 'shop & save' scheme rewards returning customers with a £5 discount for every £25 spent in store for their next grocery shop.
The vouchers, which offer a saving of up to £20 off a £100 shop, have proved popular during the cost-of-living crisis, helping Dunnes Stores record a £40 million uplift in sales for its Northern Ireland operation last year.
But the 14-day time limit shoppers have to use the vouchers has been cut to just 10 days by the retailer without warning.
It’s understood the terms were changed at Dunnes’ 15 stores in the north during October.
The reduced time limit for the grocer's 119 stores in the Republic has been widely reported this week.
- Half of consumers plan to cut back on Christmas spending this year, new credit union survey suggests
- Higher costs eat into Dunnes Stores' profit in northern business
- Shoppers already into the Christmas spirit with £5.8m spent on festive treats
The 'spend & save' scheme across the border allows customers to use up to nine €5 vouchers in a single transaction.
It's understood the time limit on the vouchers was extended to 14 days during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dunnes Stores has been contacted for comment on the latest change in terms.
The move is expected to increase activity on a number of popular Facebook groups, where shoppers actively exchange discount codes which are about to expire.
One group has more than 100,000 members.
The terms of the voucher scheme excludes Dunnes’ restaurants, as well as its clothing and homewares goods.
Things like tobacco, medicines, gift cards, mobile top-ups, lottery products and first stage infant milk formula are also exempt.
While the vouchers helped Dunnes Stores increase its turnover in the north by one-third to £158.7m last year, the retailer’s profit has suffered from higher costs.
Cost of sales rose 40% year-on-year to £126.9m in 2022, while operating expenses rose 32% to £28.8m.
It cut the retailer’s pre-tax profit from £6.4m in 2021 to £3.75m last year.
The latest accounts for Dunnes Stores’ northern operation show it employed around 950 people across its 15 stores.