Independent retailers are racing to develop their own loyalty cards in a bid to compete with the multiples.

Warner's Budgens will trial a loyalty card scheme in its five stores in the Cotswolds in the next two months, while CK's Supermarkets has asked its IT provider to develop a card for its 21 stores by the end of the summer.

Jempson's, which runs four Budgens in Sussex, is believed to be the only independent retail chain to currently run its own loyalty card scheme.

Warner's paid "a five-figure sum" to its EPoS provider to develop a card system over the past 12 months. It hopes the new scheme will build on the success of its online membership scheme Taste Club, which has 2,000 members who sign up for monthly special offers.

"Taste Club has proven to us how powerful it is to know who some of your customers are and talk to them," said MD Guy Warner. "Now we want to bring that on and develop it into a card."

CK's MD Christopher Kiley was inspired to develop his own loyalty card at Christmas when the snow caused a "massive" sales uplift, leaving him wondering how to encourage customers to visit all year round. "I'm sure we could do something that would encourage local shoppers to visit us more often by offering them great rewards."

Jempson's currently runs its loyalty card in its store in Peasmarsh and plans to roll it out to its other three stores in the next 18 months. Joint MD Andrew Jempson said the scheme created 30% sales uplifts when it sent vouchers to members every quarter.