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Sainsbury’s vows to match Aldi in price war

Sainsbury's vows to match Aldi in price war
Photo by Sainbury´s – Aldi price match

UK retailer Sainsbury’s has thrown down the gauntlet by announcing  it will match discounter Aldi on hundreds of popular items. The around 250 items will include both own-label and branded products and focus on a range of lines from fruit and vegetables to meat, chicken and dairy. The initiative includes savings such as a five pack of Fairtrade bananas, lowered from 80p to 69p; a six-pack of kiwi fruit down 18p at 67p; celery 7p off at 43p; 220g of Imperfectly Tasty Green Beans down 6p at 69p; 1kg of Imperfectly Tasty Carrots 5p off at 40p; 1kg of Imperfectly Tasty Baby Potatoes down 30p at 65p; and 1kg Greengrocer Berry Mix 11p lower at £2.39.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said: “We are making great progress delivering our Food First plan and I’m determined that in these tough times, we do even more to help our customers save money. Our new commitment to match Aldi prices on hundreds of our most popular products will mean our customers can be confident that they are getting the quality they expect from Sainsbury’s at great prices.”

Sainsbury’s also has a Price Lock campaign, with the price of around 2,500 everyday products fixed for at least eight weeks.


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Sainsbury’s records strong sales but foresees challenges ahead

Sainsbury’s records strong sales but foresees challenges ahead


UK retailer Sainsbury’s registered a 10.5% rise in grocery sales in the first quarter of 2020, with online sales more than doubling during the coronavirus lockdown. Online orders rose from 370,000 a week during the same period last year to 650,000 per week this year. However, new chief executive, Simon Roberts, said that he did not expect the current strong sales growth to continue. Indeed, the supermarket chain expects some challenging times ahead, given the precarious economic outlook. The firm estimates that profits could be cut by over £500 million due to increased costs deriving from the coronavirus pandemic, although many of these would be broadly offset by business rates relief and stronger grocery sales.

Sainsbury’s employed 25,000 new staff during the first quarter to help mitigate surging demand during lockdown, and also paid bonuses to 157,000 staff members as a thank you for working on the frontline during the pandemic. The retailer made almost four million grocery deliveries to more than 500,000 elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers.

Photo: Reuters


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Record sales for UK supermarkets

Sainsbury’s booked a fall in sales last month for the fifth straight quarter as the UK’s supermarket price war further erodes profit margins.

The covid-19 outbreak sparked the busiest month on record for UK supermarkets, with grocery sales in March soaring by 20.6% compared to the previous month. All 10 major UK supermarkets recorded sales increases during the first 3 months of 2020, according to the new data. Aldi reported an 11% rise in sales. Of the Big-4 supermarkets, Sainsbury’s performed best, with 7.4% growth. The UK’s second-largest supermarket, Sainsbury, is likely to see a further boost to its sales over the coming months following an agreement with WHSmith to sell over 90 new product lines in WHSmith hospital stores. These products will mostly consist of essentials such as toilet roll, pasta and UHT milk.

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Sainsbury’s commits to £1 billion to become Net Zero by 2040

Sainsbury's commits to £1 billion to become Net Zero by 2040

UK retailer Sainsbury’s has issued a pledge that its operations will become Net Zero in line with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement, and a decade ahead of the UK Government’s own target. The project will focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging, water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating    Sainsbury’s will work collaboratively with suppliers and will ask suppliers for their own carbon reduction commitments. 

According to a press release issued by the retailer, its current carbon footprint is one million tons, which is a 35% absolute reduction in the last 15 years despite its space increasing by 46% over the same time frame. For the last six years Sainsbury’s has been awarded an A rating for taking action on Climate Change by the CDP, the highest rating of any UK supermarket.

Sainsbury’s will use the £1 billion investment to implement a programme of changes, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating. The investment will enable the business to fulfil Scope one and Scope two emissions, putting the business on course for Net Zero a decade ahead of the UK government’s deadlines. 

The retailer will work with the Carbon Trust to assess emissions and set science-based targets for reduction, publicly reporting on progress every six months. The targets will align the business with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. Sainsbury’s will work with suppliers to set their own ambitious Net Zero commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

Mike Coupe, now former CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “Our commitment has always been to help customers live well for less, but we must recognise that living well now also means living sustainably.  We have a duty to the communities we serve to continue to reduce the impact our business has on the environment and we are committing to reduce our own carbon emissions and become Net Zero by 2040, ten years ahead of the government’s own targets, because 2050 isn’t soon enough. We have a strong heritage of reducing our carbon emissions – we have reduced them by 35% over the past fifteen years despite the footprint of our business increasing by over 40%. We invested £260 million in over 3,000 initiatives over the last decade, including the start of our LED lighting programme and refrigeration. Over the next 20 years we will invest a further £1 billion in programmes that will transform the way we do business and put environmental impact at the forefront of every decision we make.”

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Departure of Sainsbury’s CEO “not due” to Asda deal collapse

Departure of Sainsbury’s CEO “not due” to Asda deal collapse
Credit: Peter Nicholls, Reuters, The Times


Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, has announced his resignation but will remain in his post until the end of May. His replacement will be current retail and operations director, Simon Roberts. Coupe has denied that his resignation is linked with the collapse of the £12 billion merger with Asda, emphasising that it was his own decision to leave. 

Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda fell through last year when the CMA found that the deal could lead to higher prices for customers. Speaking to the BBC, Coupe said, “If you looked at our AGM last year, 99.5% of our shareholders voted for me to carry on what I’m doing. It’s absolutely my choice You see the amount of change that is going on in the world of retail, who knows what will happen in the next five to 10 years, but one way or another there will be a significant rationalisation of brands you have taken for granted for a generation.”

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New fresh food boss at Sainsbury’s

New fresh food boss at Sainsbury's


Rhian Bartlett has been appointed to Sainsbury’s director of fresh food. With over 25 years’ experience in the retail industry, Bartlett rejoins the UK retail chain from Screwfix, where she worked for two years, most recently as customer and digital director. Prior to Screwfix, she spent nearly three years at eBay. Her first stint at Sainsbury’s, from 2008 to 2015, saw her hold the roles of category manager and head of online merchandising. 

Commercial director, Mills-Hicks, said, “We are delighted to be welcoming Rhian back to Sainsbury’s. She has extensive experience and will be a key member of the commercial leadership team as we further enhance our food business and focus on offering customers quality products at affordable prices.” 

Bartlett also stated a pleasure at the reunion. “It is a fantastic company with talented colleagues and a clear purpose to help customers live well for less. I am really looking forward to working with the teams to deliver a fantastic Christmas for our customers.”

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Sainsbury’s promotes frozen veg

Sainsbury’s promotes frozen veg


Sainsbury’s has teamed up with frozen foods specialist Birds Eye to revamp its Epsom store with a colourful ‘vegetable takeover’. The initiative is part of the UK retailer’s campaign to promote healthier eating, in this case, by adding more frozen vegetables to their trolley. It also dovetails perfectly with Birds Eye’s marketing campaign ‘Eat in Full Colour’, which highlights the benefits of frozen vegetables. In the month of October, products in the frozen aisle at the Epsom branch of Sainsbury’s will be grouped by colour in a rainbow layout to better showcase the variety of products available

Holly Callender, category planner for frozen at Sainsbury’s, said, “This activity is seeking to disrupt shoppers in store and educate them about the vast range of high-quality products available in the frozen aisle.”


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Sainsbury’s and Asda hit back at claims merger would harm customers

Sainsbury’s records strong sales but foresees challenges ahead

Following criticism last month from the Competition and Markets Authority about the impact on customer choice and prices of Sainsbury’s and Asda merging, Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, and Asda’s chief executive, Roger Burnley have issued a joint statement contesting the authority’s findings and stressing the benefits for customers regarding savings :

“We are trying to bring our businesses together so that we can help millions of customers make significant savings on their shopping and their fuel costs, two of their biggest regular outgoings. We are committing to reducing prices by £1bn per year by the third year which would reduce prices by around 10% on everyday items. We are happy to be held to account for delivering on this commitment and to have our performance independently reviewed and to publish this annually”.

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Shadow cast over merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda

Asda trials removal of plastic fruit and veg bags 

The merger between giant UK supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Asda is in serious doubt following an appraisal by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which said customers could see higher prices and less choice if the two companies combined. The value of Sainsbury’s shares plummeted 15% after the announcement by UK’s competition watchdog, which said the deal could be blocked deal or that it may force the sale of a large number of stores or even one of the brand names. In its provisional report on the proposed merger, the CMA added that it was likely to be difficult for the chains to address the concerns and that the merger could lead to a poorer shopping experience. The CEO of Sainsbury called the findings “outrageous”.


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Sainsbury’s to top Tesco with Asda merger


Sainsbury’s says its proposed merger with fellow UK retailer Asda would see prices drop by about 10% on many products and create “significant opportunities” for suppliers.
Based on their current shares of Britain’s grocery market, a merger between the second and third biggest supermarket groups would give the new business a 31.4% slice, overtaking long-time leader Tesco’s 27.6%.

In an April 30 press release, J Sainsbury plc said there are no plans for store closures as a result of the move and both the Sainsbury’s and Asda brands would be maintained and their distinctive customer propositions sharpened. However, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe later said some stores might be sold to other grocers if required by competition regulators. He hopes the deal will go through by the second half of 2019 and said it would benefit customers, staff, suppliers and shareholders.

The plan would create one of the UK’s leading grocery, general merchandise and clothing retail groups with a network totalling more than 2,800 Sainsbury’s, Asda and Argos stores and 47 million customer transactions a week. In the latest financial year, the revenue of the two companies together totalled about £51 billion.

source: Sainsbury’s (L-R: Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe, Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna, Asda CEO Roger Burnley)

“The retail sector is going through significant and rapid change, as customer shopping habits continue to evolve. This has led to increased competition across grocery, general merchandise and clothing, as customers seek ever greater value, choice and convenience. Bringing Sainsbury’s and Asda together will result in a more competitive and more resilient business that will be better able to invest in price, quality, range and the technology to create more flexible ways for customers to shop,” Sainsbury’s said in the release.

Under the deal – which values Asda at about £7.3 billion – Sainsbury’s said it would give US retail giant and Asda-owner Walmart a 42% stake in the new, combined business and nearly £3 billion in cash. Walmart would not hold more than 29.9% of the total voting rights for the new group.

Analysts predicted the proposal would trigger a major competition inquiry and, if approved, result in some store disposals to ensure competition did not suffer. The plan was variously described in UK media as “the biggest shake-up in the market since Morrison bought Safeway in 2003” and a seismic shift which will transform the UK retail landscape. There were also reports of fears of job losses and that suppliers, particularly small ones, could be squeezed on prices.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said it was a pivotal moment for the British grocery market, one in which the German discounters Lidl and Aldi continue to enjoy strong growth. He also pointed out that Sainsbury’s and Asda supermarkets appeal to different customer bases. Asda achieves nearly two-thirds of its sales outside London and the south east of England in contrast to Sainsbury’s, which registers 59% of its sales in those two areas.  Sainsbury’s also appeals to more affluent shoppers, he said.

sources include:
Sainsbury’s press release
Kantar Worldpanel news