DIY retailer Homebase has experienced a pick up in trade thanks to the good weather as it focuses on customer loyalty in the downturn.

Homebase marketing and strategy director Ajay Kavan said: “When the weather is good it generally has a positive effect, and the weather has been materially better this year. And MFI’s exit has helped all of us. But it’s a very tough economic environment. It’s a mixed picture.”

He highlighted the importance of loyalty in times of recession. The retailer has joined the Nectar loyalty and reward scheme and launched cards in-store last week.

Kavan said: “Clearly, loyalty and value move up the agenda in a challenging economy and these are two of the levers we are focusing on. Loyalty is massively important for home improvement specifically because we all have relatively low share of our customers’ spend, so any leverage you can get in increasing that spend is great.”

Homebase has signed up 100,000 customers in the first 10 days of the Nectar scheme, which Kavan said is ahead of expectations.

He added that the scheme will allow Homebase to target half of UK households and give it detailed customer insight.