Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose: directions in multichannel grocery retail

We’ve delved into the latest crop of trading figures from grocers in search of strategic insights, trends and innovations in the way retailers are selling – and customers are buying – across sales channels.

Multichannel services and convenience
Sainsbury’s [IRDX RSBR], a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, says, in a third-quarter trading update, that its shoppers are appreciating the convenience of buying from digital Argos [IRDX RARG] stores within branches of Sainsbury’s. “Our Argos digital stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets are performing well, as awareness of the convenience of shopping at both Sainsbury’s and Argos under one roof grows among our customers,” said chief executive Mike Coupe.

There are now 30 Argos digital format stores in branches of Sainsbury’s, along with three branches of Habitat, and more than 200 digital in-store collection points to pick up online purchases from Tu, eBay as well as parcels sent by DPD. Meanwhile convenience store sales at the supermarket grew by more than 6% during the quarter. (For more on Argos, see our piece on updates from department stores and general merchandisers.)

Waitrose [IRDX RWAI], a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, saw an 18.5% lift in the number of John Lewis orders picked up in its shops via click and collect in its Christmas trading update, covering the six weeks to December 31.

Shoppers moving online
Some 18% of Sainsbury’s group sales took place online in the third quarter. Online sales grew by more than 9% during the quarter, with orders up by 13%. More than 300,000 orders were delivered in one record week. That contrasts with total retail sales that grew by 0.8%, excluding fuel, during the quarter, and a like-for-like rise of 0.1%. Coupe said: “Sainsbury’s offered customers greater quality food, choice and value than ever before, across all channels.”

At Waitrose online didn’t grow as fast as other parts of the business. Ecommerce sales rose by 0.8%, while gross sales rose by 4.8% to £914.9m, with like-for-like sales up by 2.8%. Convenience sales were up by 13.1%, and 4.8%, like-for-like. The retailer said that the number of orders and average order values were both up.

Tesco [IRDX RTSC], a Leading retailer in the IRUK Top500, said its online general merchandise performance was “heavily impacted” by not repeating a Clubcard Boost promotion of last year. “Without this impact total UK like-for-like sales would have been 0.8% higher over the Christmas period,” it said in a third-quarter trading statement. Overall, however, like-for-like group sales grew by 1.1% in the 19 weeks to January 7, with UK like-for-like sales up by 1.8%. In the six weeks to January 7, group like-for-likes rose by 0.3%, and UK like-for-likes by 0.7%.

Mentioned in this piece…




Sainsbury’s is a British supermarket chain with a significant share of the UK market. (more…)




Argos is a large multichannel home and general merchandise retailer. It is a pioneer in multichannel retail, having successfully pivoted its legacy operations into the eCommerce age. (more…)




Waitrose forms the food retail division of Britain’s largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership. The company is the sixth-largest grocery retailer in the UK, with approximately 5% of the market. (more…)




Tesco is the largest British supermarket chain. Tesco has a comprehensive multichannel offering, including mobile and tablet websites, click-and-collect options and home delivery. (more…)

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  1. Pingback: How IRUK Top500 retailers approached Christmas - InternetRetailing

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