Tesco is beefing up its Clubcard loyalty scheme in a bid to steal a march on its rivals amid the doom and gloom on the high street. The retailer, the UK's biggest supermarket chain, has rolled out a TV and press campaign to advertise the move, which will double the points given to Clubcard holders to two points for every £1 they spend.
Officially, it has denied that the changes – the second in just a year – are a panic measure designed to stem an exodus of shoppers to its rivals.
But do consumers actually care about reward cards and will a move like this really influence our shopping habits?
Like many of my friends I have a clutch of reward cards which I use to accumulate points, including the Nectar card which can be used at a number of retailers including Sainsbury's and Debenhams, and the Boots Advantage Card which is seen as one of the most generous schemes. But I am rather slow to cash the points in, not least because I never seem to stack up the millions I would need for anything I am vaguely interested in. So, inevitably, retailers get the benefit of my complacency.
Not all stores have a reward scheme, of course. Marks & Spencer has managed without, as have Waitrose and Asda. Perhaps the ultimate scheme is that offered by the Co-op, which rewards its members with a "divvy" which can be returned to them or diverted to good causes. Some consumer surveys have shown that shoppers would simply prefer cheaper prices than reward cards.