The Nectar loyalty programme has launched in Italy in partnership with supermarket chain Auchan, marking the first time the scheme has gone international.

Nectar Italia is modelled on the UK loyalty programme – including Sainsbury’s and Homebase – which has signed up more than 50% of households in the UK.

In Italy shoppers will be able to earn points at more 5,000 retail outlets. Aside from Auchan, other retailers include Simply Sma grocery shops and electricals retailer UniEuro. It will launch on March 1.

The move could have implications on other international loyalty schemes. Tesco has been expanding its Clubcard to other international countries, although does not as yet operate in Italy.

Nectar Italia will also expand to online retailers, and have its own credit card for consumers to earn Nectar Italia points.

Nectar Italia is owned 75% by Groupe Aeroplan, a global company in loyalty management and is the first independent loyalty coalition program uniting leading retailers in Italy.

“We’re delighted to be launching Nectar Italia with such a strong coalition of leaders in their respective industries,” said Rupert Duchesne, president and chief executive of Groupe Aeroplan. “Millions of Italian consumers will soon be able to benefit from collecting and redeeming points through partners across a wide range of retail outlets. As Italy is one of the world’s largest economies with 58 million consumers and a high penetration of loyalty programs, there are significant opportunities for further growth of the program.”