Sainsbury's holiday offer aims to boost weak sales

SAINSBURY'S WILL today launch a fresh promotion for its loyalty- card programme in a bid to boost its weak sales growth.

The supermarket group is set to announce a holiday offer for its 14 million Reward card holders, under which members will be able to receive pounds 100 off the cost of a holiday with two Reward vouchers worth pounds 5.

The holidays will need to be booked through the Air Miles scheme using a range of tour operators such as First Choice, British Airways Holidays and Sovereign.

In addition to the pounds 100 discount offer which starts on 2 May, Sainsbury's is running a prize draw under which shoppers will have the chance to win a million Air Miles. Kevin McCarten, Sainsbury's marketing director, said: "This is a major promotion and we think that pounds 100 off a holiday for just pounds 5 is too good to miss."

Mr McCarten would not disclose the costs of the scheme, but he said it had been budgeted for and that the costs would be shared between Sainsbury's, Air Miles and the holiday companies.

The scheme comes less than six weeks before Sainsbury's is due to launch a major corporate overhaul to rebuild sales. The launch will accompany its full-year results on 2 June.

The changes will include new corporate colours to replace the dowdy orange and brown and a new advertising campaign to replace the failed "Value to Shout About" commercials starring John Cleese.

The shakeup will also include a major review of Sainsbury's approach to quality, choice, value and customer service as the company tries to close the gap on Tesco.

"I am confident we have a clear strategy to deliver what shareholders and customers want," Mr McCarten said.

Earlier this month Sainsbury's reported sales growth below the industry average and well short of figures produced by Tesco and Asda.

Separately Britain's leading food retailer, Tesco, yesterday said it was cutting prices by another pounds 25m, just two months after its biggest price cutting campaign for two-and-a-half years.

The price cuts on 175 products will take effect from today and will be permanent, Tesco said.