Sobeys wraps up national rollout of Scene+ loyalty program

Latest launches at stores in eastern and western Canada cap off migration from Air Miles rewards.
Sobeys Empire-Scene+ app-smartphone
Sobeys parent Empire Company Ltd. is a co-owner of the Scene+ loyalty program, which got under way last summer. / Photo courtesy of Sobeys/Empire

Sobeys Inc. parent Empire Company Ltd. has completed the coast-to-coast launch of the Scene+ lifestyle loyalty program across Canada, finishing up its transition from the popular Air Miles program begun last summer.

The Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based food and drug retailer last week introduced Scene+ at its Thrifty Foods banner in British Columbia, IGA supermarkets in Quebec and New Brunswick, and Rachelle Béry health food and Les Marchés Tradition community grocery stores in Quebec. Scene+ also became available to Voilà par IGA online grocery customers in Quebec.

“Introducing Scene+ to our stores in Thrifty Foods in B.C. and the Quebec banners marks the fourth phase of our successful loyalty program rollout across Canada. We couldn’t be happier with the enthusiastic customer response we have seen in Atlantic Canada, Western Canada and Ontario,” Sandra Sanderson, senior vice president of marketing for Sobeys/Empire, said in a statement. “Our Empire customers love all of the ways they are able to earn and redeem points every day with Scene+, on groceries and so much more. We are thrilled to bring our Thrifty Foods customers all the incredible value this loyalty program has to offer, and they can stay tuned for news of special regional and store-based deals as we launch.”

Empire announced last June that it partnered with Scotiabank and Cineplex as co-owners of Scene+, a new customer loyalty program that the companies aim to make one of Canada’s largest. With the move, Empire said it would gradually shift away from the Air Miles program, one of Canada’s leading consumer loyalty plans.

Then in August, Empire launched Scene+ at its Atlantic Canada stores in the first deployment wave. That rollout enabled customers of Atlantic Canada Sobeys and Foodland stores, Voilà by Sobeys online grocery service, Needs convenience stores and Lawtons Drugs stores to begin earning Scene+ loyalty points when they shop. In late September, Scene+ made its debut at stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Following that in November were rollouts to Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo stores and the Voilà by Sobeys online grocery service in Ontario.

Sobeys Empire-Scene+ program-instore

Scene+ first rolled out in Atlantic Canada before launching in Western Canada, Ontario and, more recently, Quebec and other fill-in locations, as well as the Voilà online grocery service. / Photo courtesy of Sobeys/Empire

The Scene+ launch continued across Canada through the rest of 2022 and into early 2023 at Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, IGA, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo, Voilà, Thrifty Foods and Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry locations and at company liquor stores. Empire said Scene+ marked first-ever loyalty program at FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo stores and at Voilà by Sobeys in Ontario.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this new loyalty program to our customers,” commented Carl Pichette, vice president of marketing for Quebec at Sobeys. “As we all know, groceries are a weekly necessity, and as a full-service banner, we want to offer a program that will meet even more needs and allow consumers to reward themselves in so many ways.”

For every 1,000 Scene+ points earned, customers can save $10 off selected purchases at Empire’s banner stores. Scene+ points can be earned via personalized offers, everyday offers, weekly promotions, member-only pricing and points acceleration.

The 11 million-plus Scene+ members across Canada also can earn points at Scotiabank, Cineplex theaters and other entertainment venues, and more than 700 Recipe Unlimited restaurants across Canada, including Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s and Montana’s. Redemption partners include Expedia and retailers like Apple and Best Buy. And this summer, Scene+ members will be able to earn and redeem points at Home Hardware’s nearly 1,100 dealer-owned stores nationwide.

Empire’s food retail network, operated via its Sobeys Inc. subsidiary, includes over 1,900 food, drug and convenience stores in all 10 provinces under such banners as Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, Farm Boy, Longo’s and Lawtons Drugs.

“We continue to be very pleased with the evolution of our new Scene+ loyalty program. And this quarter, we exceeded our targets on several key metrics, including new member sign-ups, active members and overall program awareness,” Empire President and CEO Michael Medline told analysts in a conference call earlier this month on third-quarter results.

Dallas-based Loyalty Ventures Inc., the owner and operator of the Air Miles, had announced in June 2022 that it was unable to come to sponsorship extension terms with Sobeys, which provided notice that it planned to exit Air Miles on a regional basis. Loyalty Ventures said at the time that it plans to seek new retail partners for the rewards program, which also is sponsored by Canadian grocer Metro Inc. In late September, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Pattison Food Group, led by the 176-store Sav-On-Foods supermarket chain, joined Air Miles.



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