05 May 2000

Supermarket chain Safeway, the country’s fourth largest with 480 outlets, announced yesterday that it is to scrap its customer loyalty scheme because shoppers had become bored with collecting points and much preferred straightforward money-off and other promotional offers. Its ABC loyalty card will be axed on 1 June and customers must redeem their accrued points by 30 September.

Instead, Safeway will plough a further £51 million ($80m) to its "Best Deals Ever" money-off programme launched last October. According to finance director Simon Laffin, Safeway had mulled the ABC card’s demise for the past year, concluding that it had no impact on enticing customers away from rivals. Nor did he believe that the customer data collected from the scheme was valuable enough to justify its running costs.

The supermarketeer also announced strong fourth quarter trading, with sales (excluding store openings and closures) 5.7 per cent up year-on-year. It expected pre-tax profits for the full year to be in the region of £245m - the high end of market forecasts.

Sourced from: Financial Times