Nectar, the loyalty scheme used by Sainsbury's, has ruled out any retaliatory increase of its own following the launch of Tesco's double-points Clubcard 2.

While he said Tesco's new offer, as predicted in The Grocer last week, was "a good move", Nectar MD Jan-Pieter Lips added that Nectar's offer was already attractive to customers.

"Like Tesco, we are seeing a real interest in loyalty programmes in the downturn," he said.

"It is our strategy to make sure Nectar is more valuable for customers and we will continue evolving by adding partners and communicating the way Nectar works. Because Nectar is a coalition programme with different companies to earn points at, we provide more value by giving them more opportunities to earn points with more partners."

Lips added that the number of households to have joined Nectar in the past three months was up 500,000 to 10.8 million.

"We asked our new collectors whether the downturn was a factor in their decision to join the programme and more than half of them said 'yes'," he said.

Nectar is also planning a new scheme in Italy.