Sainsbury nectar card

Sainsbury’s has taken full control  of the Nectar loyalty programme in the UK

Sainsbury’s has taken Nectar in-house through the £60m acquisition of Aimia’s UK business.

The deal allows the supermarket group full and independent operation of the Nectar loyalty programme in the UK.

It includes Aimia’s Intelligent Shopper Solutions UK and Intelligent Research business as well as a 50% stake in its i2c joint venture with the supermarket group.

It also provides for the transfer to Sainsbury’s of about £105m of cash to provide coverage against the Nectar redemption liability.

Sainsbury’s said the acquisition would be “immediately cash positive and earnings accretive”.

“The better you know them, the better possible service you can give them. By acquiring the Nectar business we will be in a much stronger position to know our customers better,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesman.

Sainsbury’s said there would be no change for customers as a result and they should continue to collect and redeem their Nectar points as normal.

Sainsbury’s was a founding partner of the Nectar coalition in 2002 and is the programme’s largest issuance and redemption partner.

Aimia said the evolution of Sainsbury’s had led to more limited prospects for Nectar to add new big non-competitive partners, exacerbated by Bunnings’ takeover of Homebase and the exit of British Gas.

“Selling the Nectar business to Sainsbury’s was the optimal risk-adjusted outcome for Aimia and we have worked to ensure a seamless transition for collectors and employees,” said Aimia group chief executive David Johnston.

Aimia said it would continue to deliver customer insights and data analytics platforms to customers outside the UK.

Existing Nectar partners include Argos, which Sainsbury’s owns through its acquisition of Home Retail Group in September 2016 for £1.4bn, Pizza Express and Vue.