Sainsbury has written to suppliers asking them to try to cut costs by 5% and pass on the savings in lower prices, according to the Financial Times.

The supermarket has offered to help the suppliers reduce their cost base, offering suggestions such as a reducing packaging and waste.

The approach to suppliers is part of a wider package of cost-cutting, which boss Sir Peter Davis has put at £700m by 2004, which includes £320m scheduled to come from buying gains.

Sainsbury will this week open the first of nine “mega” depots at Hams Hall near Birmingham. The group has used technology from the automotive, pharmaceutical and fashion industries to help cut supply chain costs by about 30%.

Sainsbury’s UK supply chain director, Martin White, told the FT that goods would be delivered to stores in the same sequence that they are needed for stacking shelves, which cuts down on storage space and the products get to customers quicker.

Sunday Telegraph

Prince Charles has told the UK's leading supermarket chains to do more to promote British farming.

The bosses of Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco, plus chairman of the BRC, David Felwick, were summoned to the Prince’s Highgrove home for dinner last Friday. They were urged to buy directly from farmers co-operatives and look at new ways to sell local produce.

Sunday Times

Sainsbury’s US arm, Shaw’s has bought 18 stores from Ames, the collapsed discount retailer Stateside for £47.4m. About 12 stores will be converted to the Shaw’s format with the others to be and redeveloped.

Mail on Sunday

Sainsbury’s project to update the supermarket’s tills is behind schedule, according to the paper. Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, has so far converted checkouts in about 40 of the group’s 480 stores. The project was due for completion back in the spring. Sainsbury said the project is on track, but delayed through rephasing of work plus the new Nectar loyalty card.

The Business

French retailer Carrefour is set to double its presence in China by opening 40 supermarkets in addition to the 32 hypermarkets it already operates.