Putting what it calls a "real focus" on cookware in recent years has contributed to a boom in non-food sales at Sainsbury's - and the supermarket says there are still huge opportunities for growth.

Cookware grows 16% within Sainsbury’s non-food boom

Putting what it calls a “real focus” on cookware in recent years has contributed to a boom in non-food sales at Sainsbury’s – and the supermarket says there are still huge opportunities for growth.

Cookware grows 16% within Sainsbury's non-food boom

Annual sales of what Sainsbury’s terms general merchandise – which includes cookware, kitchenware, domestic appliances and other homewares – have reached £1bn for the first time. The company says this is a significant milestone and follows its best-ever Christmas, when general merchandise sales grew by a third over the previous year.

Over the past 12 months Sainsbury’s cookware range has grown at 16%, with 10,000 Cook’s Collection cast iron casserole dishes sold over Christmas and 100,000 frying pans sold in the run-up to Pancake Day.

In an increasingly competitive grocery market, non-food has played an important role for Sainsbury’s over the past few years, growing at up to three times the rate of food. And the retailer says it has huge potential to achieve sales beyond the £1bn mark as non-food continues to expand in both size and scope – growing not only within the store portfolio but through the introduction of new products and ranges.

Fewer than one in five of Sainsbury’s supermarkets has a full non-food offer – defined as when a store has 15,000sq ft of non-food space – which means that just 31% of the population is within a 15-minute drive of a full Sainsbury’s non-food range.

Roger Burnley, Sainsbury’s managing director general merchandise, clothing and logistics, said that rather than just add line after line to the non-food collection the company had been careful to take into account its brand values of quality and value.

“And we’ve been very successful in identifying and adapting to changing shopping habits. We’ve also put real focus on areas that complement our unrivalled heritage in fresh food such as cookware and homewares,” he said.

Sainsbury’s has direct sourcing offices for its general merchandise range in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Bangladesh.

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