Sainsbury’s boss promises store ‘reinvention’ to fight discounters
By Graham Ruddick - The Telegraph
Mike Coupe says the death of the out-of-town superstore has been exaggerated
The chief executive of J Sainsbury, Mike Coupe, has pledged to “reinvent” the supermarket and “push the boundaries” of shopping in an attempt to fight back against falling sales.
The supermarket boss is drawing up plans for six stores across the country that will be revamped in a new format.
The overhaul is designed to make the supermarkets more convenient for shoppers and help large out-of-town stores challenge online, the discounters and convenience stores.
Britain’s “big four” supermarket chains have been thrown into chaos by a fall in sales driven by changes in shopping habits.
The exact plans and location of the stores remain under wraps, but according to Mr Coupe popular products such as fresh food will be moved to the front of the stores, new self-scan technology will be introduced so shoppers can pay using their phone, and new in-store services such as foreign exchange points will be introduced.
In an interview to mark his first anniversary since succeeding Justin King, Mr Coupe said: “Our challenge is to reinvent the superstore for the next generation, for the future.
“If you characterise last year as building a plan and making sure we had the financial capacity to execute the plan, this year for us is all about experimentation and starting to understand how we can make our larger stores in particular different for the future.
That means easier to get around, more convenient to shop in, more technology in terms of interacting with customers differently, more non-food, and perhaps increasingly other third parties utilising some of our space.
“My measure of long-term success would be how and when we change the dynamic of our superstore business. We are certainly looking to push the boundaries of what we might do with those formats in the future.”
Mr Coupe said Sainsbury’s is “doing a lot of work” on the layout of its supermarkets. “What customers would say about large superstores is that having got used to smaller formats, they want large superstores to be more convenient,” he said.
“The challenge is to make the superstore more attractive in the first place, and then secondly easier to get around and get out of then previously.”
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