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UK's Sainsbury's buys Nectar from Aimia for 60 mln stg

LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Britain’s Sainsbury’s said on Thursday it has purchased the Nectar loyalty card business from Canada’s Aimia for 60 million pounds ($85 million), boosting the supermarket group’s control of customer data.

Sainsbury’s, which has been part of the Nectar scheme since it launched in 2002, said it has acquired all the assets, staff, systems and licences required for the independent operation of the Nectar loyalty programme in Britain from Aimia, a data, marketing and analytics company.

Loyalty cards, pioneered by market leader Tesco’s Clubcard over two decades ago, are widespread throughout Britain’s retail sector as they allow store operators to garner information on the likes and dislikes of their customers.

Sainsbury’s said the transaction will be immediately cash positive and earnings accretive.

Last week the group said it would restructure its store management as it seeks to achieve another round of targeted cost savings.

Shares in Sainsbury’s, which has reported three straight years of profit decline, were up 0.6 percent at 1142 GMT. ($1 = 0.7033 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Adrian Croft)