Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Purchase won't affect Optimum loyalty program

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TORONTO -- Shoppers Drug Mart worked to reassure shoppers Monday the purchase of the pharmacy retailer by Loblaws Companies Ltd. will not affect its popular Optimum loyalty program.

"Hi everyone, Canada's favourite loyalty program will continue. No plans to change Optimum for our valued (at)shopprsdrugmart customers," the chain's official Twitter account tweeted.

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Shoppers says 10 million people are registered to collect Optimum points, which rewards shoppers with 10 points for every dollar spent.

In a call with investors, Loblaw executives said the company's PC Financial division, which oversees banking and credit card services, will undoubtedly "benefit" from Shoppers "incomparable" Optimum points program by being better able to target its products to customers.

"It's really about adding significant customer insight and significant customer reach to a direction that we've already had, which is creating tailored, relevant offers to those individuals," Loblaw president Vicente Trius said.

Ken Wong, a marketing and business strategy professor at Queen's University, said the price Loblaw paid for Shoppers may partly be due to the value of its Optimum program.

"I do think that they are being very wise in keeping the two programs separate. There is no reason why you need to integrated the two under a single banner," he said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2013 B6

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