Now a much-loved stalwart of the British high street, Sainsbury’s has a long and remarkable history. For nearly 150 years, Sainsbury’s has provided the British public with quality foodstuffs at competitive prices, and has grown to become one of the largest supermarket chains throughout the uk.
Featuring its huge network of supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores across the country, almost everyone in the UK has a Sainsbury’s close by. Its well-recognised branding comes to define the British supermarket experience – but did you know that without Sainsbury’s, supermarkets could be totally different to the evergreen high-street features that we know and love today? In reality, without My Sainsburys, the self-service supermarket might not exist at all.
This is because Sainsbury’s pioneered the idea – throughout the uk, at least – of obtaining your own grocery items and paying when you were ready to leave the store. Before this, a store assistant would collect the goods on your behalf. Before self-service stores existed, customers didn’t hold the freedom to browse around supermarkets shelves like they are doing today.
When Sainsbury’s opened its first self-service store, customers were suddenly in a position to shop at their own pace, and store employees were free to pay attention to serving customers and taking payments. The complete shopping process was quickened significantly, and as the self-service supermarket model required all available stock to get on display, supermarkets became larger – resembling something close to the Sainsbury’s supermarkets which can be so familiar today.
Sainsbury’s have also been amongst the first supermarkets to offer you own-brand goods – this can be supplied at a lower price than goods that were bought-in from third-party manufacturers. But since the manufacturing process was managed by Sainsbury’s itself, the product quality was comparable – or even better – than many national brands. The first Sainsbury’s own-brand product was bacon, which arrived during the early 1880s. The modernist-inspired types of the retailer’s own-label items that were used through the early 1960s for the late 1970s have grown to be recognised as classics in the field of retail graphic design.
John James Sainsbury opened the initial Sainsburys store in Drury Lane, London in 1869. The company soon won over many customers featuring its innovative branding and awareness of detail – whilst other stores had saw dust floors and counters produced from wood, Sainsbury’s created a higher-class shopping experience with mosaic-tiled floors, white walls and marble counters. Sainbury’s created consistency across its brand, years before this was the norm, by installing gold-leaf ‘J. Sainsbury’ signs on its stores. These tactics ecbgwb well, and the company quickly expanded.
During the Second World War, Sainbury’s – like most other businesses during wartime – fell on hard times. After the War, however, Sainsbury’s begun to pick up speed again, and by the time it became a public limited company in 1973, it achieved the greatest flotation ever on the London stock exchange.
Today, Sainsbury’s remains among the UK’s most favored supermarkets, with its leap into shopping online and dedication to offering fair trade goods, it consistently innovate into the new century.