April 15, 2024

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Costco just planted a ‘Death Star’ in cases of Bud Light – a sign that it won’t be restocking beer amid the controversy, which has sent sales plummeting. Wild speculation or another devastating blow to the brand?

Costco just planted a ‘Death Star’ in cases of Bud Light – a sign that it won’t be restocking beer amid the controversy, which has sent sales plummeting.  Wild speculation or another devastating blow to the brand?

Costco just planted a ‘Death Star’ in cases of Bud Light – a sign that it won’t be restocking beer amid the controversy, which has sent sales plummeting. Wild speculation or another devastating blow to the brand?

Costco shoppers noticed the asterisk on the price of Bud Light beer across the beverage aisle. Experienced Kirkland members had seen the mark before and dubbed it the Death Star. This could be an indication that one of the country’s largest retailers might consider not restocking the struggling beer brand.

Here is a closer look.

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Death Star

Casual shoppers hardly notice the little asterisk on the price display at the top of the shelf. These days, most of the attention is on the price. However, Kirkland members believe the asterisk is of particular importance to Costco’s supply chain decisions. An asterisk is often associated with discontinued items.

These items are usually selected for disposal from display on the shelves. It’s a subtle flag for Costco employees not to restock an item after inventory is depleted. Loyal shoppers look for the asterisk to discover deals and have dubbed it the “Death Star” on the Costco Fans Facebook page.

Now the star is spotted atop cans of Bud Lite. “Is it just me…or am I the only one who noticed Costco applied their infamous ‘Death Star’ to Bud Light for sale!” said one Twitter user.

Shoppers think this means Bud Light cans could soon be taken off Costco shelves.

The company has not directly acknowledged these allegations. But if that’s true, BudLight sales could see a huge impact. Costco is one of the three largest retailers in America, based on sales volume per store. It is an important part of the major consumer brands’ distribution network. Losing a place on Costco’s shelves isn’t good news.

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Costco’s move is likely to spur other major retailers to follow suit.

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Controversy brewing

Bud Light sales have plummeted since the spring after an ominous social media marketing campaign caused a political backlash. Data from Bump Williams Consulting and NielsonIQ shows that the brand sold 28.5% fewer cans of beer in the week ending July 1st. In the previous week, sales fell 27.9%.

In response, Anheuser-Busch initiated a temporary rebranding of the Bud Light product. The aluminum beverage bottles will feature camouflage prints and images that evoke the “Folds of Honor” program, which provides special educational assistance to spouses and children of disabled and deceased US Army veterans.

What then?

Bud Light’s marketing problems are undeniable. However, the parent company’s marketing efforts can stem the tide. Meanwhile, Quora user Dimitri Foles thinks Costco’s so-called Death Star isn’t as dramatic as its name suggests.

Some items that received the Death Star in the past have been redistributed at a later date. It’s also worth noting that Costco itself has never acknowledged the Death Star or detailed its purchasing decisions.

Meanwhile, researchers at Cornell University believe that the impact of politically motivated boycotts is often temporary. Sales and brand reputation take a hit initially but recover in the long run as the media cycle shifts and public attention continues.

However, industry insiders disagree. Katarina Tucker, founder of Barnastics, a bartending service, told Fox News that the brand has seen a huge shift in consumer preferences. She believes the sales decline could be permanent as consumers move to other beer brands.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.