Asda lashes out at loyalty cards

Asda trading director Tony Campbell has launched a scathing attack on the effectiveness of supermarket chains’ customer loyalty cards, fuelling speculation that Asda could halt its own card trials.

The chain is running loyalty card schemes in 16 stores with two versions available. But Campbell, speaking at the Marketing Society last week, said he doubted that loyalty cards were the best way forward for grocery superstores.

“Delivering the best value is about offering the best prices. To then give a discount on top of that in the form of a card sends the wrong messages to consumers,” he said. “If we are going to offer a discount I would rather put it on price than through a card.”

One leading City analyst says the development of loyalty cards is a topic of internal debate at Asda. He says the finance department argues that the costs of operating the card schemes is high, and they are “unconvinced the sales uplift warrants a national roll-out”.

Asda is trying to establish itself as a retailer with consistently low prices, and the cost of establishing a national loyalty scheme would imply price rises across the chain’s products.

Other grocery superstores offering card loyalty schemes include Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Safeway.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here