Fresh & Easy to Launch 'Thank You' Loyalty Card

Rollout follows successful trial in Bakersfield, Calif.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc. is rolling out its new Friends of Fresh & Easy "thank you" card to all its stores next week following a successful trial of the program at seven stores in Bakersfield. The card was well-received by customers during the trial, the company said, and membership in Friends of Fresh & Easy more than doubled shortly after the card was introduced.

Fresh & Easy had originally planned to trial the card this fall and roll out the program to all stores by the end of the year.

The Friends card builds on the international success of Tesco's Clubcard and the Friends of Fresh & Easy email program. Friends is a digital points-based program through which customers can earn one point for every dollar they spend at Fresh & Easy. Friends can exchange their points for cash-back rewards and will receive personalized biweekly emails with real-time updates on points earned and targeted bonus point coupons.

"We wanted to create a 21st-century program to thank our most loyal customers and friends," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. "We're excited to bring the new Friends program to all our stores next week."

Friends of Fresh & Easy was introduced in December 2008 to give the chain's most loyal customers exclusive news and information about the company and its products as well as special coupons and offers.

Unlike many supermarket and retail loyalty programs, Friends will not penalize customers who do not use their card with higher prices--it is not designed to be a key to unlock special prices. Fresh & Easy's everyday low prices will remain the same for everyone.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Fresh & Easy operates 180 small-format grocery stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.