TRADING STAMPS: A Hidden Charge in the Grocery Bill

IN their race for the consumer's dollar, U.S. retailers have turned the old trading-stamp gimmick into the hottest sales idea of the postwar decade. By playing on the housewife's weakness for giveaways, supermarkets and department stores have rung up astonishing records at the cash register. After Detroit's Big Bear chain of 33 supermarkets introduced Gold Bell Gift Stamps last March, gross sales jumped 40%; Miller's supermarkets in Denver increased their business about 30% by plugging trading stamps. From Los Angeles to Boston, filling-station operators, dry cleaners, used-car dealers and beauty parlors...

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