Healthy eating quick service restaurant operator Leon has launched its first grocery range into Sainsbury's. The 14-strong range includes sauces, oils and vinegar which will be stocked in 600 stores, and sourdough bread which will initially be available in 32 locations and finished in a Sainsbury's in-store bakery.
Strengthening Future Brands
For Sainsbury's, the launch helps to build its Future Brands portfolio of exclusive and distinctive brands from small scale suppliers. Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury's, said: "We want to surprise and delight our customers with exciting new products and brands that they can only find in Sainsbury's, and we're confident this exclusive range from Leon will be a hit."
The retailer last month revealed that the range had now achieved sales of £200m to date without cannibalising sales of other brands. Growing the range further is a key part of its plan to build a more distinctive offer, one of its six new priorities to strengthen its strategy.
Developing Leon's retail offer
Leon meanwhile sees the range introduction as a first step towards building a significant retail business in the years ahead, with further launches planned for 2020 and beyond. John Vincent, chief executive and co-founder of Leon, told the PA news agency there are plans for up to 12 more product lines over the first year after the initial launch - and the group hopes to strike similar deals with retailers in the US and in other countries. "In seven years' time, the grocery products business has the potential to be as big as the restaurant business," he said.
Rapid global expansion
This latest development comes as Leon accelerates its expansion worldwide. This month has already seen Leon step up its expansion in Ireland, with five restaurants expected to be open in Dublin by next May and it has also just opened its first site in Switzerland. The company currently operates 57 restaurants in the UK and plans 30 openings over 2019/20 which are expected to be an equal mix of company owned and franchise stores. In the year ending 31 December 2018, Leon's sales increased by 15.2% to £95m.
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