68 Facts About Sainsbury's


In 1995, Tesco became the market leader when it overtook Sainsbury's, which has since been ranked second or third: it was overtaken by Asda from 2003 to 2014, and again in 2019.

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Sainsbury's was established as a partnership in 1869, when John James Sainsbury and his wife Mary Ann opened a shop at 173 Drury Lane in Covent Garden, London.

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Sainsbury's was replaced by his eldest son, John Benjamin Sainsbury, who had gone into partnership with his father in 1915.

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Sainsbury's was a pioneer in the development of own-brand goods; the aim was to offer products that matched the quality of nationally branded goods but at a lower price.

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Sainsbury's policy was to invest in uniform, well designed shops with a strong emphasis on quality; its slogan was "good food costs less at Sainsbury's".

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Sainsbury's expanded into Scotland in 1992 with a shop in Darnley.

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In June 1995, Sainsbury's announced its intention to move into the Northern Ireland market, until that point dominated by local companies.

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In 1994, Sainsbury's announced a new town centre format, Sainsbury's Central, again a response to Tesco's Metro, which was already established in five locations.

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Much of the 20th century, Sainsbury's had been the market leader in the supermarket sector in the United Kingdom, but in 1995, it lost this position to Tesco.

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Sainsbury's was succeeded as non executive chairman by George Bull, who had been chairman of Diageo, and Adriano was promoted to be Group Chief Executive.

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On 14 January 2000 Sainsbury's reversed this decision by announcing the replacement of Adriano by Sir Peter Davis effective from March.

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In 2001, Sainsbury's moved into its current headquarters at Holborn, London.

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Sainsbury's previously occupied Stamford House and twelve other buildings around Southwark.

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The building was designed by architectural firm Foster and Partners, and had been developed on the former Mirror Group site for Andersen Consulting ; Sainsbury's acquired the 25-year lease when Accenture pulled out.

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Sainsbury's was a founding member of the Nectar loyalty card scheme, which was launched in September 2002, in conjunction with Debenhams, Barclaycard and BP; Debenhams, Barclaycard and BP have all subsequently left the scheme, although until the chain's demise Nectar points continued to be awarded for online purchases at Debenhams made through the Nectar app.

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In May 2004, Sainsbury's announced that it would acquire fourteen of these shops, thirteen Safeway shops and one Morrison's outlet, located primarily in the Midlands and the North of England.

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Sainsbury's sold its subsidiary in America, Shaw's, to Albertsons in March 2004.

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Also in 2004 Sainsbury's expanded its share of the convenience shop market through acquisitions.

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Sainsbury's believed any offer at that stage of Sainsbury's recovery was likely to undervalue the business, and with private equity seeking high returns on their investments, saw no reason to sell, given that the current management, led by Justin King, could deliver the extra profit generated for the benefit of existing investors.

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In May 2007, Sainsbury's identified five areas of growth: Growth of non-food ranges; opening of new convenience shops and growth of online home delivery and banking operations; Expansion of supermarket space through new shops and development of the company's "largely underdeveloped shop portfolio"; and "active property management".

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In January 2008, Sainsbury's brought the number of its supermarkets in Northern Ireland to eleven, with the purchase of two Curley's Supermarkets in Dungannon and Belfast.

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In November 2007, Sainsbury's centralised its HR department, relocating to the 17th and 18th floors of the Manchester Arndale Centre to form a Shared Service Centre, which was initially trialled to deal with Recruitment in Scotland and was later rolled out to the whole of the United Kingdom.

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In March 2009, Sainsbury's reached an agreement to buy 24 shops from The Co-operative Group, 22 of which were Somerfield shops, which the group were required to sell as a condition of their takeover of Somerfield.

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In May 2010, Sainsbury's confirmed a multimillion-pound deal with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be the main sponsor of the 2012 Paralympic Games.

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Under the deal, Sainsbury's sold Paralympic merchandise and became involved in high-profile events, such as the torch relay.

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On 30 November 2011, Sainsbury's reached the first milestone in its Vision for 2020, by opening its thousandth self-service shop in Irvine, Scotland.

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In November 2016, Sainsbury's announced its intention to cut £500 million of costs from its business.

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In January 2018, Sainsbury's announced proposals to overhaul shop management structures which would result in job losses 'in the thousands'.

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On 1 February 2018, Sainsbury's announced the purchase of Nectar from Aimia for £60 million; this gave full control of all Nectar data to Sainsbury's.

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In March 2018, Sainsbury's announced that it would be increasing the base rate of pay for its staff to retain the best workers.

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In November 2020, Sainsbury's stated that up to 3,500 jobs were at risk due to the closure of supermarket counters and the closure of further Argos standalone stores.

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In March 2020, due to the declaration of the UK lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the panic buying that followed as a result, Sainsbury's supermarkets allowed shoppers to buy no more than three of each food item, to ensure all visitors have access to the products they need.

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Sainsbury's operates a chain of fuel forecourts located at some of its supermarkets selling diesel, petrol and City Diesel.

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From 1980 onwards Sainsbury's operated its own forecourts and sourced its own fuel.

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Sainsbury's initially retained the strong Bells, Jacksons and Beaumont branding.

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Sainsbury's operates an internet shopping service branded as "Sainsbury's Online".

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Frozen foods RDC at Elstree in Hertfordshire closed with Sainsbury's relocating to a new national distribution centre at Pineham, just outside Northampton.

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In 1997, Sainsbury's Bank was established – a joint venture between J Sainsbury plc and the Bank of Scotland, later a part of the Lloyds Banking Group.

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Sainsbury's Energy was previously supplied by British Gas; the agreement ended in 2019 with nPower commencing supply from February.

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In 1989 Sainsbury's bought out BHS's stake, but still allowed BHS to retail from SavaCentres until it offered its own clothing and merchandise offering.

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Sainsbury's operated one alcohol hypermarket in partnership with Auchan in Calais, France for the lucrative UK booze cruise market.

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In 2002, Sainsbury's opened an experimental shop in the Bluebird Building in Chelsea, London.

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In 2011, Sainsbury's opened a trial food to go shop in Fleet Street London selling sandwiches, baguettes and hot snacks in an effort to expand its business into new areas of opportunity.

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Sainsbury's commented that footfall was too high to offer high standards of quality and service however it was not ruling out performing another trial in another location, explaining that it had learnt a lot.

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In 2020, Sainsbury's began to rebrand some in-store cafes to " Fresh Kitchen".

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Sainsbury's operated a virtual mobile network from 2001 until 2003 which closed due to being commercially unsustainable.

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In 2013 Sainsbury's re-entered the UK telecommunications industry when it launched a mobile phone network called Mobile by Sainsbury's.

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However, in 2015 Sainsbury's announced that the service would be closing in January 2016 after a breakdown in the relationship with its provider Vodafone.

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Sainsbury's Compare and Save was a comparison and switching service website that promoted a wide range of television, broadband and telephone deals from a variety of providers.

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The service, free to Sainsbury's customers, claimed to list 15,000 different packages.

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Sainsbury's operated pharmacies at three major UK hospitals: Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital and James Cook University Hospital.

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In July 2015 Sainsbury's announced it was selling its 281 pharmacies to Lloydspharmacy for £125 million with all 2500 pharmacy employees being transferred and new rent agreements being made.

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Sainsbury's Entertainment was a transactional website which provided films as downloads or for streaming, using Rovi Corporation software.

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Sainsbury's announced in September 2016 that it would close the business on 30 November 2016.

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In 2006, Sainsbury's opened a Convenience store at Birchanger Green services, operated by owners Welcome Break.

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From April 2015, Sainsbury's halved the number of points that customers earned for every pound, to one point per pound.

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On 1 February 2018, Sainsbury's announced that it had acquired all assets, staff, systems and licences required for the full and independent operation of the Nectar loyalty programme in the UK through the acquisition of the shares of Aimia Inc's UK business for £60m.

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Until 2017, Sainsbury's ran an annual voucher scheme for local organisations to redeem against equipment for sports and other activities.

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Customers earned vouchers from their shopping which they donated to an organisation of their choice, who then redeemed the vouchers with Sainsbury's, crediting their account with points to spend on items from a catalogue.

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Sainsbury's currently uses the "Helping Everyone Eat Better" slogan which was launched on 24 February 2021.

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Sainsbury's was a sponsor of the Paralympic Summer Games in London 2012 and it was the largest sponsorship signing in the history of the Games.

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When Sainsbury's opened its new supermarket in Kingston upon Thames on part of the site of the former Kingston Power Station in the 2000s, a decision was made to name a new road leading to the supermarket "Sury Basin", a pun on the name of "Surrey" but in fact an anagram of the company's name.

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In 2010, Sainsbury's opened seven food colleges that teach fishmongery, butchery, breadmaking and confectioning.

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In 2007, Sainsbury's was fined £26 million for its involvement in a dairy product cartel.

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Divine Chocolate, an ethical trading company part-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, said Sainsbury's move was tipping the balance back in favour of retailers.

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In 2012, Sainsbury's agreed to purchase Bristol Rovers F C's Memorial Stadium for £30 million and to lease it back until the new UWE Stadium was ready, but pulled out of the deal because the terms had not been met.

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Sainsbury's said it saw restrictions on delivery times as an opportunity to get out of the contract and "did nothing" from January 2014 to challenge them.

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Sainsbury's prevailed in the case but Rovers accused Sainsbury's of breaking its promises.

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