Most customers around the country will know the names of certain symbol groups. The chances are that they will live within walking distance of a Londis, Nisa, Spar, Best-In or Booker Premier store. And the chances are also high that they will have seen most of the rival symbol group offerings around as they’ve visited other places in the country.

What they might not have is loyalty to any particular one of them in the same way that they may have to an Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury’s for their ‘big’ shop. They may well use their nearest symbol group store for their own top-up shop as it is closest to their own house, but will they actively seek the same branded store when they’re out elsewhere?

Loyalty is the name of the game, and the biggest symbol group chains know that there is money to be made from encouraging repeat visits, increasing the basket-spend of the shoppers that are visiting and making your store much more widely known.

Booker has recently revealed that it has opened its 2,500th Premier store nationwide (to put that in some sort of perspective, Tesco opened its 1000th Express store in July of last year). This figure includes recent acquisitions from other symbol groups, as four stores in Wales erected the distinctive yellow and purple signage and a chain of six in the South West region recently made the decision to sign up with Premier.

To help celebrate reaching the 2,500 landmark, the company is launching a £1million investment into a scratchcard giveaway competition, aiming to reward customers who spend more in store and reward retailers who can encourage their consumers to do just that.

This sort of promotion is a first for a symbol group and is the sort of offering that brings the company a step closer to the big boys. Tesco have the ubiquitous clubcard, Sainsbury’s have Nectar points and, although loyalty cards may be a little way off just yet, Premier’s insatiable appetite for new store openings or conversions (the amount of Premier stores has grown by a phenomenal 9% in the 12 months since they unveiled ambitious expansion plans) and this dive into a big money, uniquely-branded proposition is a very interesting move.