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J Sainsbury, Barclaycard, BP, Debenhams in Loyalty Card Deal

LONDON - Retailers J Sainsbury, Barclaycard, Debenhams, and BP said Wednesday they are joining efforts to create the U.K.'s largest ever loyalty program that is expected to sign up 50 percent of all U.K. households, Dow Jones news reports.

The new program, Nectar, will be available beginning this fall, and is being run by the U.K. arm of Air Miles founder Keith Mills' Loyalty Management International firm. Customers will be able to collect points from more than 1,800 Sainsbury's, Debenhams and BP outlets and with all Barclaycard purchases. Additional retailers are expected to join the program in the future, according to BBC News.

Points collected in the program will be exchangeable for a range of rewards like grocery shopping, consumer goods, flights, holidays, restaurant meals, family days out and cinema tickets.

Two years ago supermarket giant Safeway scrapped its loyalty card program, claiming customers preferred immediate discounts to points. "People have lost interest in [loyalty card] points and don't think they give value," chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez said at the time.

But Sainsbury last week revealed the value of a successful loyalty card scheme by admitting that the loss of its Air Miles offer to rival supermarket giant Tesco had hit sales growth.
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