Sainsbury’s has snapped up its longstanding loyalty programme partner Nectar for £60m as it seeks to “know its customers better than anyone else”.

The grocer, which was a founding partner of Nectar in 2002, is the loyalty scheme’s largest points issuer and redemption partner.

The growth of Sainsbury’s across grocery, financial services, energy, clothing, and general merchandise has led to “more limited prospects for Nectar to add new non-competitive partners of scale”, Nectar-owner Aimia said.

Homebase and British Gas, two big Nectar partners, have exited the scheme over the past 18 months.

Sainsbury’s has acquired all assets, colleagues, systems and licenses for Nectar in the UK.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “Acquiring Nectar supports Sainsbury’s strategy of knowing its customers better than anyone else. There is no change for customers as a result of the acquisition and they should continue to collect and redeem their Nectar points as normal.”

The grocer said it expected the transaction to be “cash positive and earnings accretive” immediately.