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LEEDS, West Yorkshire, U.K. - Wal-Mart-owned Asda on Thursday unveiled new research by NOP that suggests plastic cards are failing to keep customers loyal. The U.K. retailer abandoned its own loyalty card pilot in 1999, but two of its chief competitors, Sainsbury's and Tesco, use such programs.
According to Asda, the survey shows that shoppers across the UK, regardless of their favorite store, overwhelmingly prefer lower prices to plastic points. Key findings of the survey, conducted at the beginning of this month, show:
-- Over nine out of ten people (93 percent) would prefer lower prices to loyalty cards;
-- Shoppers know there's no such thing as a 'free lunch' - Loyalty cards are strongly suspected of pushing up prices;
-- People have not warmed to loyalty cards in the last few years with almost three-quarters (73 percent) saying their attitude to them had not changed.
The NOP survey showed that 45-54 year olds were the most skeptical about loyalty cards with over three quarters (76 percent) agreeing it they made little difference to where they shopped.
Asda's announcement comes as the chain plans to make more price cuts in its stores this year. The retailer said it expects to invest 200 million pounds ($312.9 million) in lower prices, with 50 million pounds ($78.2 million) scheduled for the final quarter of the year.