Sobeys Embarks On Major New Loyalty Strategy


Parent Empire Company Ltd. joins Scotiabank and Cineplex in launching the Scene+ customer rewards program.

Sobeys Inc. parent Empire Company Ltd. has partnered with Scotiabank and Cineplex as co-owners of Scene+, a new customer loyalty program aimed at becoming one of Canada’s largest.

Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire said it plans to begin rolling out the Scene+ program in Atlantic Canada in August and then continue across the country until all its grocery banners — including Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, IGA, FreshCo, Chalo! FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys/Safeway/IGA, Needs, Thrifty Foods, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Bery and Lawtons Drugs — are integrated by early 2023. Scene+ will also be used in Empire’s liquor stores in Western Canada.

“Evolving our loyalty offering is one of the final building blocks of our transformation strategy at Empire,” said Michael Medline, president and CEO of Empire. “This is such an important milestone in our loyalty and customer experience journey. Scene+ is a great example of the game-changing moves we can now make because of the strong foundation we’ve established at Empire.”

In becoming a partner in Scene+, Empire/Sobeys will transition customers who currently participate in the Air Miles rewards program.

Scene+ already boasts over 10 million members who can earn points at Scotiabank, Cineplex Theatres and other entertainment venues, and 700 Recipe restaurants across Canada, including Swiss Chalet, Harveys and Montana’s. Redemption partners also include Expedia and retailers like Apple and Best Buy.

And now the program will soon welcome grocery shoppers, too.

“Scene+ members and extensive customer research tell us that grocery is such an important piece of any loyalty offer,” according to Tracey Pearce, president of Scene+. “We are thrilled to welcome Empire as a new co-owner of Scene+. Together, we will offer Canadians an innovative loyalty offering powered by some of Canada’s strongest and most beloved brands.”

With the launch of Scene+, Empire will gradually transition from the Air Miles program, one of Canada’s leading consumer loyalty programs. Empire said Air Miles members will continue to earn and redeem points in stores until the new Scene+ program is available in their region.

Empire said it expects incremental sales and earnings from the first year of Scene+’s operation.

“Coupling Scene+ with the investments we’ve made in technology, data and personalization will push the customer experience in our stores to new heights,” Empire’s Medline added. “Scene+ is on an exciting evolution to become a world-class loyalty program in Canada. We’re thrilled to be able to offer our customers significant opportunities to be rewarded when, how and where they want.”

Empire’s food retail network, operated via its Sobeys subsidiary, includes over 1,900 food, drug and convenience stores in all 10 provinces under banners such banners as Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, Farm Boy and Lawtons Drugs. The retailer also operates more than 350 retail fuel stations and runs grocery e-commerce operations under the Voilà, Grocery Gateway, and banners.