01 April 1998

FOLLOWING A SERIES of profit warnings, Safeway‘s ABC loyalty card scheme has been given a facelift with bonus points now conferred on top-spending customers. Launched in mid-April, the scheme targets consumers spending £160 or more a month. This happy breed will receive double points on all expenditure, whilst the truly extravagant who shell-out £240 upward gain triple points. Commented Verdict Research: ‘This is the first serious move we have had in inflationary benefits in loyalty cards … [supermarkets] just have to offer more points to keep the promotion alive.’ Safeway’s move, which will cost £20 million, appeared to please the City. Said one analyst: ‘It is a meaningful promotion ... Safeway is weak in the big shopper area, with its average transaction about 25% below the other big food retailers. It’s well thought-out and won’t be that easy to copy.’ [Debrief disagrees: the scheme is all too easy to copy and almost certainly will be. We predict a replay of the 60’s trading stamps saga, when the incentive value of stamps decreased in direct proportion to their availability - eventually from almost every trader in town.]