Sainsbury’s highlights home opportunity at BHETA Open Forum

Sainsbury’s general merchandise business unit director Robbie Feather outlined the opportunities for own-brand and branded non-food trading at the supermarket chain during BHETA’s latest Open Forum

The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) welcomed Robbie Feather, general merchandise business unit director for supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, as key speaker of its Open Forum on November 21.

During his presentation, he told the audience of BHETA members that Sainsbury’s has been in the non-food market for the past 10 years – and that this part of its business is growing at 10% per annum.

He said: “Sainsbury’s is at the top of the big four supermarket hierarchy. We have enjoyed fantastic interim results with 35 successive quarters of growth and profits at £400 million: up 7%. Alongside food are complementary services such as banking, and new business areas such as digital; all part of the future growth strategy, together with the pursuit of property expansion, both in terms of space and value.

“Equally a part of this, and now growing more than food, is general merchandise; and in the macro world of supermarket business, this is becoming an increasingly crucial area.”

He noted that Sainsbury’s non-food offer focuses on three categories: home, seasonal and clothing. All aspects of the home sector are in growth. Kitchen is up 15%, bedroom and bathroom are up 4% and living is up 8%. And the opportunities for suppliers, he said, are encouraging.

The Sainsbury’s offer is heavily own-brand with a good, better, best structure comprising Basics, by Sainsbury’s, and Cooks Collection, respectively. But branded offers such as Tefal, Kilner, Brita and Dyson exist alongside.

Robbie explained that a sense of brand, a sense of British, competitive pricing and exclusive offers can all play a part in brand versus own brand listings.

Sheer visual impact may also be relevant, and the possibility of dual own-brand and branded trading should always be borne in mind by prospective suppliers, he said.

A full report on this presentation appears in Housewares Magazine’s November/December issue.

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