Safeway has vowed to increase sales of own label by up to 30% and has set ready meals a target of 60% growth. At the chain's agm, chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez said the chain now planned to add extra and more profitable sales growth to bottom line performance, and promised an acceleration in new ranges ­ particularly ready meals. "We will increase the percentage of our sales which are own brand. It's our biggest opportunity. We need to convince customers about our quality." He said sourcing was the most essential element and that Safeway had the best suppliers in the market for its ranges. "The focus of our strategy is to consolidate the loyalty of the extra one-and-a- half million new customers we've gained over the last three years and encourage them to spend more." He said Safeway was also looking for more convenience store sites ­ up to 12,000 sq ft ­ but acknowledged it was up against stiff competition from its multiple rivals. Criado-Perez said the new hypermarket format was proving its worth and sales were already up 40% at the Anniesland megastore in Glasgow since it opened in May. At the agm, Safeway chairman David Webster defended the group's decision to award a special incentive plan to Criado-Perez that could pay him £4m over the next three years. Said Webster: "Carlos is very much the inspiration behind the resurgence of Safeway. The plan is designed to retain and incentivise him." {{NEWS }}

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