Empire becomes co-owner of Scene+

Sobeys' parent company is transitioning from Air Miles as part of strategy to evolve its loyalty offering.

As it prepares to enter the final year of a three-year transformation plan, Empire has turned its attention to loyalty, buying a stake in Scene+.

The grocery giant has joined Scotiabank and Cineplex as co-owners of the loyalty program.

Scene+ will roll out to Empire-owned banners in Atlantic Canada beginning in August, continuing to the rest of the country throughout the year. It is expected to be available nation-wide by early 2023.

The program will be available across the company’s portfolio of grocery stores, including Sobeys, IGA, FreshCo, Safeway, Foodland and Les Marchés Tradition. It will also be available at London Drugs and grocery store pharmacies, Needs convenience stores, Rachelle Béry health stores, Voila grocery delivery service and Empire-owned liquor stores in Western Canada. Farm Boy and Longo’s will not be part of the program, for the time being.

Michael Medline, president and CEO of Empire, said evolving the loyalty offering is “one of the final building blocks” in the company’s three-year transformation strategy, which, according to him, gave it the foundation to buy a stake in the program in the first place.

“Coupling Scene+ with the investments we’ve made in technology, data and personalization will push the customer experience in our stores to new heights,” Medline added, regarding how Scene+ would be integrated in the company’s plans.

Scene+ was created late last year when the entertainment-focused Scene was merged with the more traditional points program Scotia Rewards, running a big campaign to onboard and familiarize members with the revamped program. It is one of the biggest loyalty programs in the country, with over 10 million members.

Scene+ members can currently earn and redeem points through purchases at Cineplex movie theatres and other entertainment venues, as well as certain Scotiabank banking products. Through partnerships, points can also be earned and redeemed through trip planning on Expedia and dining at Recipe Unlimited restaurants such as Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s and Montana’s.

Tracey Pearce, who was recently named president of Scene+, says having Empire on board will help the program in its goal to offer “an innovative loyalty offering powered by some of Canada’s strongest and most beloved brands,” adding that it intends to add even more “select, high-profile” brands to offer further redemption and collection opportunities to members.

Details on how members will earn and redeem points through Empire stores have not yet been revealed. Empire and its banners are currently part of the Air Miles program; the company said customers will be able to continue to earn and redeem through the program until Scene+ becomes available in their region.





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