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Publix restricts coupon use to discourage extreme couponing

Calling all extreme couponers.

Publix is on to you.

Florida's largest grocery chain tightened its coupon policy Wednesday to discourage shoppers from overusing coupons and buying up everything on a shelf.

Among the changes, Publix now limits shoppers to using eight of the same coupons per day, per household. It defines a household as a single family, meaning you can't have your 3-year-old hand coupons to the cashier at checkout. The guidelines also limit dollars-off coupons to one Publix and one competitor's coupon per day, per household. All coupons must be original, not copied, and any individual coupon for more than $5 must receive a manager's approval.

Officials for the Lakeland-based chain said the changes were made based on customer feedback and research, but declined to elaborate. Even some coupon fans have complained about coupon abuse, which ultimately could result in higher prices for shoppers overall.

Publix prides itself in offering customers savings through weekly specials and buy-one-get-one-free offers. In keeping with its "Love to Save Here" motto, it accepts coupons from nearby competitors and is one of few grocers to offer digital coupons.

Publix has been in a bitter fight with discount grocer Walmart to maintain its top spot in Florida. Walmart started matching Publix's BOGO deals last year but has been restricting the offers at certain stores in favor of Savings Catcher. The program allows shoppers to enter their receipt number online and Walmart automatically comparison shops for lower prices. Any difference is loaded onto a Walmart gift card.

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