Sainsbury's has just opened a new style superstore in Birmingham. The most significant store opening since Nine Elms two years ago, Selly Oak is the most ambitious iteration yet of its Destination Sainsbury's thinking, introducing a host of new ideas to attract customers. We visited the store on opening day and share our first impressions. A full store visit report will follow for Retail Analysis subscribers.
Selly Oak is Sainsbury's first store to host a "Food Market". Located at the front of the 68,000 sq ft store, it features two quick service concepts from Hana Group, the owners of the Sushi Gourmet concept that this store also includes. 'Wok Street' serves Asian street food and 'Little India Kitchen' offers freshly made curries. These face opposite a new style Sainsbury's foodservice offer. Fresh Kitchen offers a range of hot lunches and salads and next to it a coffee bar offers Patisserie Valerie cakes as well as ice cream. With seating for 180, Food Market has the capacity for shopper needs throughout the day and evening. "Eat well, feel good" messaging on the walls is in keeping reflects the ambience.
For shoppers on the move, Sainsbury's has created a food-to-go pod in the middle of the store. Here shoppers can buy takeaway whole pizzas and pizza slices, as well as other ready to eat hot food. There's also a juice station, self serve coffee and pastries. Surrounding the pod is an extensive food-to-go offer that includes items from Crussh, the 'Fit Food' specialist that has concessions at a growing number of Sainsbury's stores.
New style counters
At the rear of the store is a full line up of counters, including a food for later counter, similar to the one that debuted at Pimlico. Other innovations include a new artisan bread range baked fresh in store from premium ingredients. This elevates the bakery offer and complements the Patisserie Valerie offer at the adjacent patisserie counter.
Selly Oak features a large beauty zone to rival department stores with 1,000 new lines and much improved merchandising for key brands. A dedicated beauty expert is also available to offer advice to customers.
The store also includes a new wellness aisle that brings together weight management, sports nutrition and dietary supplements, allowing Sainsbury's to tap into this emerging demand. Here too an opportunity is taken to display Argos products - in this case blenders and shake bottles.
Integrating Argos and Habitat
Rather than create separate in-store shops for Argos and Habitat, Sainsbury's has blended the brands with the wider Sainsbury's offer at Selly Oak so that they connect better with customer missions. A display of Habitat furniture for instance leads onto homewares from Argos and Sainsbury's making a more logical grouping for customers. Argos terminals are positioned throughout the store to allow customers to browse the range at different moments in their shopping trip. There's also an Argos jewellery counter at the front of the store to give the range more prominence and link it to the clothing customer mission.
Selly Oak is the first to host an Oasis concession, part of a five store trial announced last month. The shop greatly broadens the choice of on trend fashions in womenswear and complements Sainsbury's own Tu range.
The spacious nature of the store creates has allowed Sainsbury's to devote more space to toys make the most of Argos's strengths in this category. There are also video game screens and a Twister floor game to make the zone more of a destination for children.
For more insight on Sainsbury's, visit our new Strategic Outlook for Sainsbury's - H1 2018/19 Update (Retail Analysis subscribers only)