Oct 12, 2016
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Sainsbury’s unveils department store-style vision, opens first Mini Habitat

Oct 12, 2016

UK supermarkets giant Sainsbury’s has unveiled the first step in its new vision for the business. The change comes after its acquisition of the Argos brand earlier this year and as a result of its fast growth in the fashion and general merchandise sectors.

The new Mini Habitat in Sainsbury's, Nine Elms

Yesterday the company unveiled major changes to its still-new superstore in Nine Elms, South London with a large Argos concession and the debut of its first Mini Habitat. The store also carries its full Tu fashion line-up.

CEO Mike Coupe said supermarkets had to change to react to the current retail environment and that larger Sainsbury’s stores would have more of a department store look, like the Nine Elms store, in future.

Since its Argos acquisition, Sainsbury’s has become one of the largest clothing and general merchandise retailers in the UK and the new layout reflects this with just over one-third of its space dedicated to these product categories. The Tu area covers 9,500 sq ft and includes the new Tu Premium line and a Gok Wan edit.

The new Argos concession is fully digital with 20 touchscreens, plus Fast Track desks and eBay collection points. Coupe said that eventually virtually all Sainsbury’s stores will feature an Argos concession or Argos click & collect counter.

The new 2,000 sq ft Mini Habitat shop-in-shop is the first of five 1,400 to 2,000 sq ft concessions the retailer is planning to open before Christmas.

Although the store contains only a 600-product edit of the full Habitat range, shoppers will be able to explore the wider brand offer via touchsreens and iPads in-store.

The Habitat brand is looking to create a network of regional touchpoint stores to help support its multi-channel growth strategy. Investment in smaller footprint concession formats is aimed to further its online and offline brand awareness.

Habitat managing director Clare Askem yesterday said the new relationship with the supermarket chain offers significant growth potential for the brand.

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