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Hi-Lo dumps Magna, to introduce GK value card

Published:Sunday | January 4, 2015 | 1:00 AM

Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

The Hi-Lo supermarket chain has discontinued the use of the Magna Card, effective January 1, but parent company GraceKennedy said shoppers will soon be able to apply for rewards under a new value rewards programme.

The programme will be available across its subsidiaries, including Hi-Lo, First Global Bank, Bill Express, Jamaica International Insurance Company (JIIC), and FX Trader, group chief executive officer, Don Wehby said on Friday.

Consumers will earn points based on the value of transactions and frequency of spend at the participating GraceKennedy businesses.

The GraceKennedy value rewards will provide more local competition for Magna, the 10-year-old loyalty rewards programme conducted through local partners, including Scotiabank.

almost a monopoly

With 500,000 active customers and more than 70 partners at more than 250 locations up to August 2013, Magna, which is jointly owned by Prism Services Inc of Barbados and Neal & Massy Holdings of Trinidad, comes close to monopolising the market.

Its regional markets also include Antigua, Grenada and St Vincent.

In Jamaica, Magna also has co-branded cards with Scotiabank, JIIC and Guardian Life, deepening its penetration in the market.

Another loyalty card, Sure Loyalty, has been challenging Magna with its own purple card since July 2012.

GraceKennedys value rewards programme will replace Magna in 13 Hi-Lo supermarkets in Kingston and St Andrew, St James, St Catherine, Westmoreland, Manchester and St Mary, as well as at others of the conglomerates subsidiaries.

Wehby did not specify the rewards, but in-store loyalty cards generally either allow shoppers to rack up points that they can offset against future purchases or give immediate discounts to cardholders.

The GraceKennedy value card is now in its testing phase, with a launch planned the first quarter 2015, Wehby said, noting that third-party partners under the programme will be revealed during its introduction.

Benefits to members will include faster accumulation of points by shopping across GraceKennedy-participating businesses, the GraceKennedy chief executive said.

higher value

Members will be rewarded for doing more with GraceKennedy, Wehby said, adding that they will be able to choose from a range of rewards.

He said the new programme was a means of providing higher value for clients across the group.

GraceKennedy wishes to reward as much value as possible to recognise its loyal customers. While we have benefited from our participation with Magna in the past, we are now committed to create a customer-focused loyalty programme GKVR leveraging the assets of GraceKennedy to create a better value proposition for our customers and consumers, who are the reason we are still around, he said.

Wehby said they were expecting a strong and positive response to the new programme across the customer base.

Weve been working on getting everything right for the last two years and are excited to roll it out to our customers and consumers during the first quarter of next year, he told Sunday Business just before the start of the new year.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com