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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Sarah Butler

Sainsbury’s begins offering lower prices to Nectar card holders

A Sainsbury’s supermarket showing Nectar Prices promotions
A Sainsbury’s supermarket displaying its new Nectar Prices promotion scheme. Photograph: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s has begun offering lower prices on more than 300 items to members of its Nectar loyalty card scheme in a move that will rival Tesco’s Clubcard scheme.

The Nectar Prices scheme offers deals when members of the supermarket’s loyalty programme swipe their card or app in large stores or link to their account online, in a similar way to its rival Tesco’s successful Clubcard Prices offer.

Those shopping with the self-scanning Smartshop system will get further personalised discounts on some items.

The deals include Nescafé Gold Blend instant coffee for £4 rather than £8.10, Heinz baked beans costing 95p instead of £1.40 and Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal for £3.75 instead of £4.80. The offers will not be available in Sainsbury’s smaller Local stores, concessions or petrol stations.

Members of the loyalty scheme, which has been running for more than 20 years, can continue to collect points towards discount vouchers or other rewards with partner brands including Argos, Caffè Nero or British Airways.

“Nectar Prices is a new pricing proposition that offers digital Nectar customers all-year-round access to a unique set of discounts on products handpicked for them,” the supermarket said.

Items will be marked with a Nectar Price label visible on the shelf edge in-store or next to each product online as part of the scheme, which was first reported by the Sun.

Simon Roberts, the Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to launch Nectar Prices, which will help millions of our customers save more on every trip to Sainsbury’s. There is much more to look forward to, we will keep refreshing Nectar Prices and increasing the variety of products on offer.”

Loyalty cards have become a focus of price battles for retailers as they try to hold on to shoppers amid hefty inflation, prompting a shift to discounters including Aldi and Lidl.

Asda introduced a new loyalty scheme in all UK stores and online last summer, while Lidl launched a scheme in 2020 and updated it last year so that shoppers had to spend more to get the top level of discounts.

Waitrose brought back free hot drinks for members of its loyalty scheme last year, in an effort to turn around sliding sales.

Last month Tesco angered some shoppers by revealing that it would be reducing the value of its Clubcard rewards, as it focused more on lowering prices on shelves.

From 14 June, shoppers will be able to double the value of their Clubcard points – rather than triple them as now – when they spend them with one of its reward partners on a restaurant meal, day trip or cinema outing.

The Nectar update came after Sainsbury’s admitted via social media that it had faced a “major outage” from Monday evening with one of its payment providers that affected customers trying to pay for online shopping with Visa and Mastercard.

While the retailer told customers that it had resolved the payment problem by Tuesday morning, dozens of customers expressed concerns about deliveries after they were told their payments had failed and they struggled to resolve the issue.

Some shoppers said they had spent hours waiting to get through to the retailer’s contact centre. One shopper said on Twitter they had spent 2.5 hours on hold trying to make a payment. Another said: “I’ve a delivery due between 9 and 10 and have had a text to say you can’t take my payment. Been on hold on the phone for ages.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “There was a third party technical issue on some grocery online payments last night which we are working hard to resolve. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

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