A week is a long time in grocery retail. And six months is enough to get well and truly left behind. 

So today’s launch of Morrisons’ More Card prices – with member-only discounts akin to Tesco’s Clubcard Prices – provokes one initial reaction: what took so long?

After all, The Grocer first revealed the retailer was trialling member-only prices way back in October, in a pilot with brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Quality Street.

At the time, experts welcomed the move as a possible “game-changer”. But since then, its rivals have left Morrisons in their wake: Sainsbury’s announced Nectar Prices for its 18 million loyalty card holders in April and Co-op followed suit just five days ago.

But today’s news could herald the start of better things, even if it wins no prizes for originality. Morrisons clearly had some work to do on pricing. The supermarket has previously admitted its vertical supply model has left it less able to resist price increases than its rivals. And it has continued to lose shoppers to the discounters, despite a whole series of price initiatives.

Price cuts on 500 products in March marked the sixth such investment this year alone, which tells you more about how far it has fallen behind, rather than how in tune it has been with shopper budgets.

Yes, Morrisons is copying Tesco’s Clubcard Prices, just as Sainsbury’s and Co-op have done. But any criticism on that front will be water off a duck’s back for its management team if it can help stop the alarming exodus of shoppers to Aldi.

There is also nothing wrong with admitting you got things wrong. This move is effectively such an admission, as it was only in the summer of 2021 that Morrisons decided to ditch its More card in favour of the app-focused My Morrisons personalised rewards scheme.

Features such as the Morrisons fivers disappeared, replaced by supposedly more snazzy gimmicks such as Basket Bonuses, which meant little to traditional supermarket shoppers – and certainly had scant appeal to the older generation.

The extent to which the More Card relaunch is focused on price reductions as opposed to collecting points remains to be seen. But The Grocer understands it is planning “stunning discounts”, which suggests it realises the sort of mass appeal it will need to shift the dial.

As The Grocer’s analysis last week showed, the loyalty game these days is far more about discounts that apply to all loyalty card holders, rather than just coupon-collecting anoraks.

Most shoppers – regardless of demographic – now understand what it means to not have a Tesco Clubcard when you’re at the checkout. Morrisons will be hoping some of that old-fashioned fear of missing out on a bargain will rub off on the More card, which is once again complete with those fivers, as well as belated reductions on fuel.

Or at least that will be the case once summer arrives. Until then, only shoppers in 20 stores in the north east will benefit. Given the speed of recent events, who knows what changes in loyalty will happen before the rollout is complete.