Anne Bruce Sainsbury is to withdraw eight million Reward Cards from September as it phases in its new collaborative loyalty scheme. The announcement of the Nectar scheme for shoppers at Debenhams, BP and Sainsbury and Barclaycard holders follows Sainsbury's withdrawal from Air Miles. Nectar points can be redeemed for rewards including flights and Sainsbury vouchers. Barclaycard holders will get points for all purchases and extra points for visits to Sainsbury, BP and Debenhams. But analysts dismissed Nectar as "small beer" and "too little too late". One said: "It is too early to judge but this does not seem particularly special. The timing of the announcement without details as to redemption mechanisms is spin, directed at the City to placate rumours that Sainsbury's trading is weak." The new smartcard will be administered centrally by Loyalty Management UK, the company owned by Air Miles founder Keith Mills. An LMUK spokesman said economies of scale would eliminate by up to 20% the operating costs of standalone loyalty schemes for individual partners. He said negotiations had been conducted with all market leaders to find four cornerstone partners in the grocery, petrol, department store and credit card sectors. The founding partners have been guaranteed exclusivity in their sector, but LMUK is also planning to enlist "many other non-exclusive partners" for the programme Rival supermarkets said they were not concerned by Nectar, which aims to penetrate 50% of UK households in its first year by piggybacking on partners' existing loyalty cardholders. Safeway communications director Kevin Hawkins said: "Nectar does not make any difference to us, it is irrelevant. But Sainsbury's enthusiasm for it suggests the loss of Air Miles has been a mortal blow for its Reward Card." And a Tesco spokesman said: "Clubcard is the nation's favourite loyalty card and more popular with our customers than ever before." He said Tesco has gained 60,000 new Clubcard holders since it took Air Miles from Sainsbury in March. Sainsbury said the Nectar deal would not affect its relationship with BP's rival petrol company Shell at six Local forecourt sites. A roll-out of the format is now nearly 12 months overdue. And BP said it would continue to work with Safeway at their joint forecourts. {{NEWS }}