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 many largest supermarket chains in the united kingdom.
Using 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 has arrived to define the British supermarket experience – but did you know that without Sainsbury’s, supermarkets could be completely different to the evergreen high street features that we know and love today? Actually, without Our Sainsbury’S, the self-service supermarket might not exist at all.
The reason being Sainsbury’s pioneered the idea – in the UK, at the very least – of getting your personal grocery items and paying once you were able to leave the shop. Before this, a store assistant would collect the goods for your benefit. Before self-service stores existed, customers didn’t hold the freedom to browse around supermarkets shelves like they actually do today.
When Sainsbury’s opened its first self-service store, customers were suddenly able to shop at their very own pace, and store employees were free to focus on serving customers and taking payments. The entire shopping process was quickened significantly, and because the self-service supermarket model required all available stock to get displayed, 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 provide own-brand goods – these could be supplied in a lower price than goods which had been bought-in from third-party manufacturers. But because 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 designs of the retailer’s own-label goods that were used through the early 1960s for the late 1970s have become recognised as classics in the area of retail graphic design.
John James Sainsbury opened the very first Sainsburys store in Drury Lane, London in 1869. The company soon won over many customers using its innovative branding and attention to detail – whilst other stores had saw dust floors and counters made from wood, Sainsbury’s developed a higher-class shopping knowledge about mosaic-tiled floors, white walls and marble counters. Sainbury’s created consistency across its brand, years before this was the standard, by installing gold-leaf ‘J. Sainsbury’ signs on its stores. These tactics ecbgwb well, as well as the company quickly expanded.
Through the Second World War, Sainbury’s – like the majority of businesses during wartime – fell on hard times. Following the War, however, Sainsbury’s started to pick up speed again, and when it was a public limited company in 1973, it achieved the largest flotation ever on the London stock exchange.
Today, Sainsbury’s continues to be one of the UK’s most widely used supermarkets, and with its leap into online shopping and dedication to offering fair trade goods, it continues to innovate to the new century.