A NEW loyalty card scheme will be launched to encourage Stourport shoppers to use town centre stores amid fears a new supermarket could take them away.

Members of Stourport Town Centre Forum hope more than 100 retailers will sign up to Sold on Stourport, which town centre users will be able to join – free – from Monday, September 24.

Shoppers signing up will receive about 30 different monthly offers as well as a monthly email. The offers will include discounts, two-forones and other deals.

According to organisers, the project has been introduced, with the scheduled 2013 opening of Tesco in mind. It is feared the supermarket will take customers away from shops in the town centre.

Tesco has said its new store will attract more shoppers to the town and increase trade for retailers.

A meeting will take place next Monday at the town’s civic centre to demonstrate the new loyalty scheme to local businesses.

Derek Fradgley, of the forum’s management group, said: “We have been concerned over the last few years that footfall in Stourport is reducing. We want to get more customers to the town and keep them here.

“We think Tesco will have an impact because it sells things shops in Stourport sell and offers free parking but the reaction to the scheme so far has been tremendous so we are confident it will work.”

Mr Fradgley said they were advised to look at a similar, widely praised scheme in Leominster after he asked a question about Stourport’s situation at a state-of-the-area debate at Kidderminster Town Hall earlier this year.

Stephen McHale, owner of Bentley’s gift and accessory shop in High Street, said it “could only be a good thing”

for customers and retailers.

Theresa Repton, of Severn Stitches haberdashery, Lombard Street, added: “I think it is a good idea to remind local people what is on sale in our town.”

Wyre Forest District Council leader, Conservative John Campion, said: “This scheme draws on best practice elsewhere and there are some great local shops here in Stourport. This will add another string to the town’s bow.”