U.K entertainment retailer HMV will roll out its new customer loyalty card, Pure HMV, this month and it has revealed trial data showing the benefits of the scheme to suppliers.

HMV is also targeting former customers of the defunct Woolworths retail chain, and will maximize opportunities for retail synergy with its new music venue joint venture with the London-based Mama Group, following their partnership in January.

The retailer's plans for the year ahead were outlined at a suppliers' conference today (May 1) at one of those JV venues, the HMV Forum in north London.

Pure HMV has been trialed since October in 33 stores and it will launch nationwide on May 11. It is described as a multi-channel reward scheme that links up all HMV operations including bricks-and-mortar stores, online and live, with the aim of protecting and growing high-spending customers.

The card is differentiated from similar cards with mass merchants, which provide future discounts on shopping bills; instead the focus is on redeeming points - which can be tracked online - for exclusive offers and benefits. The promotional film for Pure HMV included an offer to attend the premiere of the next Harry Potter movie, while a Gibson guitar signed by Paul Weller was among the offers available during the trial.

Figures presented to suppliers showed that Pure card holders' average spend is double that of other HMV customers. Cards cost £3 ($4.47).

HMV is appealing to record labels and other producers to deliver exclusive offers to help the successful launch of the card. It will also be accompanied by a comprehensive promotional campaign.

A previous store card was launched in August 2003, providing £1 ($1.49) of credit for every £100 ($149) spent at HMV, but that has been phased out.

Following the April 29 trading update, which showed a year-on-year sales increase of 11.7% in the 16 weeks to April 25, 2009, group chief executive Simon Fox said that HMV will take advantage of the altered retail landscape. As well as Woolworths closing down at the beginning of the year, rival entertainment retailer Zavvi shut its doors in February; HMV acquired 23 of the Zavvi sites.

"A lot has changed over the last 12 months," Fox told the audience at the HMV Forum. HMV will aim to pick up ex-Woolworths customer with pop and compilation releases, and its marketing and promotion will maximize opportunities during the gift season, such as Mother's Day.

"We know that Woolworths came into its own at [such] events," said Fox. "We've really been upweighting our activity around these key events to draw in the ex-Woolworths customer."

Fox said that HMV is having success with its three-year plan, launched in 2008: measures include revitalizing stores, including opening next generation outlets, and growing the online mail order and digital businesses.

"We know we haven't done anywhere near enough in digital," he said, while adding that HMV had enjoyed a "good year" overall and predicting profits for 2008-2009 at the top end of market expectations.

HMV's eight Fopp stores had also performed well, Fox noted, adding that "we plan to have more in the year ahead."

The live partnership with Mama Group, the Mean Fiddler Group, will also deliver further retail opportunities in 2009, according to the HMV presentation. A 'Shop in a Box' concept will launch in the HMV Forum, HMV Hammersmith Apollo and Heaven venues in June, offering products linked to the relevant shows to an estimated 1.5 million visitors a year.

The 4.5 million-strong HMV database, including online customers and also Mama Group's customer data, will also be utilized to drive concert sales through HMV's new ticketing operation. By this month, HMV will have 25 retail box offices.

"We've got real ambitions to be a dominant force in ticketing," said Fox. Ticketing promotion will be racked alongside relevant CDs and DVDs.

During the presentation, Steve Napleton, HMV supply chain director, also spoke about the pressures from price deflation. "We know we are having to sell more units to stand still," he said.

Commercial director Gary Warren pledged to "share visibility of forward plans" with suppliers and to grow pre-orders online by 20%. He also said HMV had been successful in its support of breaking acts such as White Lies.