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Sainsbury’s to open 30 new Argos digital stores, and 200 digital collection points, this year

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Sainsbury’s has moved quickly to capitalise on its acquisition of Argos , and says 30 Argos digital stores will be open in its supermarkets by Christmas 2016. That’s double the 15 that are already open. It is also using the expertise behind those stores, which feature screens where shoppers can order online for collection or delivery as fast as same-day, to open its own in-store digital collection points in branches. It aims to open 200 by the end of the year, where customers will be able to collect their Tu clothing, Argos products, eBay buys and DPD parcels while they are doing their supermarket shop.

At the same time, Sainsbury’s said it was also trialling same-day online grocery deliveries in eight stores, part of its strategic mission to be there for its customers, saving them time, money and effort. It is fulfilling online grocery orders in London from a new dedicated fulfilment centre in the east of the capital.

The update comes as Sainsbury’s reported total retail sales down by 0.4% in its second quarter. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures – and the Argos acquisition – fell by 1.1%. Meanwhile, Argos sales grew by 3% over the period, the 13 weeks to August 2, with like-for-like sales up by 2.3%. Sainsbury’s online grocery sales grew by 8%, and customer orders by 12%.

Group chief executive Mike Coupe said that while like-for-like sales were down by 1.1% – potentially reflecting price cuts across the grocery sector – volumes and transactions grew across all channels.

“This,” he said, “shows that customers are consistently choosing Sainsbury’s for the choice, quality, value and customer service we offer.”

He added: “Our ambition is to help customers live well for less. We have made further investment in everyday low prices and continue to improve the quality of our products. Our general merchandise and clothing offer is popular with customers and the acquisition of Home Retail Group will accelerate our multi-product, multi-channel strategy. We will open 200 new digital collection points by the end of the year and already have 15 Argos Digital stores open in Sainsbury’s stores so customers can shop 90,000 products whenever and wherever they want.

“We expect the market to remain competitive and the effect of the devaluation of sterling remains unclear. However, Sainsbury’s is well positioned to navigate the changing marketplace and we are confident that our strategy will enable us to continue to outperform our major peers.”

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