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GraceKennedy invests $75m in own loyalty card

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM
File A section the Hi-Lo Food Store at Manor Park, following its reorganisation in 2014.

GraceKennedy Limited has invested approximately US$650,000 ($75 million) in its new GK loyalty card, an initiative expected to drive business across the group.

Group CEO Don Wehby says the programme will also act as an information-gathering tool to deliver better value to consumers.

"We will also use the programme to understand our customers' shopping patterns better and will make targeted offers and discounts. No more waiting for cheques in the mail; customers have the flexibility to decide when to redeem their points and how to use them," he said.

The GK rewards programme covers subsidiaries Hi-Lo Food Stores, First Global Bank, Bill Express, Jamaica International Insurance Company, and FX Trader.

The Hi-Lo supermarket chain on January 1 discontinued use of the Magna Card, another rewards programme jointly owned by Massy Holdings of Trinidad & Tobago and Prism Services of Barbados. Magna rewards are delivered by cheque, tenable at partner companies.

Wehby did not comment directly on whether prices at Hi-Lo had also been adjusted downwards in the push for sales, as reported anecdotally, saying only that prices were frequently reviewed.

"We continuously review our pricing strategy to ensure that we are aligned to the rest of the market. Our category managers monitor the market on a weekly and monthly basis and make adjustments when necessary," he said.

"We also implement promotional strategies consistent with our category sales and profits objectives, some of which results in reduced prices for defined periods of time on specific products."

He adds that a civil servant discount remained available at all Hi-Lo outlets.


The supermarket chain also offers some 98 products under the Hi-Lo brand name which, Wehby said, are typically of higher quality but lower price, compared to national brands on the supermarket's shelves. Hi-Lo also offers coupons and discounts on products, through partnerships with suppliers, he said.

"Our pricing strategy is reviewed on an ongoing basis to not only ensure that we achieve our profit objectives, but that we also remain competitive relative to the market," said the GK CEO.

Sales for each location are varied, he said, and impacted by factors such as promotions, renovations and upgrades, and the economy in the geographical location in which the supermarket is situated.

Hi-Lo's 13 stores have seen growth in sales year-over-year, Wehby said.

Under the loyalty programme, consumers will earn points based on the value of transactions and frequency of spend at the participating GraceKennedy businesses.

Customers who sign up for the GK Value Rewards Programme will earn one point for every $100 spent at Hi-Lo. As that spending increases, members will begin to earn additional bonus points; and if they use their First Global Bank credit card, they will earn double points.

Accumulated points can be redeemed and used at Hi-Lo or for transactions at any of their participating subsidiaries, or for phone credit, spa treatments amongst other rewards.