St Austell launches loyalty card in battle against new retail park
A loyalty card scheme has been launched in a Cornish town to offer shoppers discounts and fend off competition from a new multi-million pound out-of-town development.
The card scheme in St Austell is backed by White River Place shopping centre, St Austell Town Council and the St Austell BID steering group, and run by national experts My Loyalty Card.
Thirty retailers have already agreed to take part in the scheme which aims to support local businesses as part of wider efforts to revitalise the town's retail economy.
Claire Daniel, centre manager at White River Place said the card was a great way of rewarding people who shop in St Austell and support local businesses.
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She said: "It will help shoppers get more for their money, which will make a real difference especially in the lead up to Christmas, and will complement the other initiatives run by White River Place to increase footfall in the town and boost our retail economy."
Cards will be available for shoppers to pick up at selected participating retailers throughout the town centre.
Shops, cafes and restaurants in the town can still join the scheme, free of charge.
Stuart Hopkins from My Loyalty Card Ltd, said his company runs a number of loyalty card schemes in major towns and cities across the UK.
He said: "We have fantastic feedback from retailers and town managers to say that the scheme has had a good response from shoppers and a positive effect on trade.
"Support from traders and the public in St Austell has already been very positive and we are confident it will prove to be a valuable and successful initiative for the town."
Stephen Gilbert, MP for Newquay and St Austell, said the scheme was one of a number of exciting initiatives coming to the town over the coming months.
Mr Gilbert said: "I've lived in St Austell all my life, my first ever summer job was at Roy Dutch's camera shop and I've watched as our town centre has undergone numerous transformations to respond to the economic times and the changing population in our town.
"Now, three years on from the opening of White River Place, and at a time when the national economy is starting to recover, our town faces a new set of challenges coupled with exciting new opportunities."
Mr Gilbert said he hoped the scheme would help traders facing competition from a new out-of-town retail park at Coyte Farm on the outskirts of the town.
The proposals also offer more retail space than shops in Liskeard, Launceston, Saltash and Bude.
It would include a 68,000sq ft Sainsbury's supermarket, a 160,000sq ft shopping park with large units for up to ten national retailers.
He said: "The development proposals for the outskirts of St Austell present risks and I have had, and will continue to have, regular meetings with people representing a spectrum of views on this issue.
"But while that rumbles on, we must ask ourselves what more can be done to support our town centre stores and independent local retailers."