Asda has denied it is planning to launch a loyalty card imminently despite rumours to the contrary.

It emerged this week it had undertaken new research into such a scheme, which could cost it about £60m a year to run. But a spokeswoman said: "Every year we revisit this and ask customer groups about it. But we've not made any changes on our position." Asda did trial a loyalty scheme in the 1990s but it was short-lived. In 2002, Asda commissioned NOP to study consumer perceptions of loyalty cards. The study revealed 93% of shoppers preferred to pay less for groceries than earn points. At the time Asda said: "Shoppers know there is no such thing as a free lunch. Loyalty cards are strongly suspected of pushing up prices."