>>Sainsbury extends stores and converts warehouse space…Asda remodels and opens standalone george…non-food takes 50% in tesco extra


- Sainsbury has been reshaping its stores as part of its business transformation programme, which began in 2001. Stores have been extended and refurbished, allowing it to considerably increase sales space and accommodate the new ranges.

It now has 152 stores over 40,000 sq ft and much of the new non-food offer is housed in this additional space, although not at the expense of the number of food lines, the chain insists.

It has also improved supply chain capability to convert previous warehouse space to sales area and has changed the ranging of some of the food.

Sainsbury believes it can take on department stores as well as homeware and soft furnishings specialists like Habitat and Heals. So confident is it in its new non-food offer that the week it launched its new Homeware range, it declared an interest in opening standalone units.


- Safeway is trialling the sale of furniture at its first third-generation megastore in Reading, while it has also trialled non-food at the front of the store and food at the back in an effort to drive more footfall through non-food areas.


- Asda seems to have been even more proactive and spent the last year looking at all stores that are ‘over-footaged’ on food and converted the space to non-food. In some stores it has found as much as 6,000 sq ft of extra space through initiatives such as raising all the shelves and putting shelves over the freezers.

Now, the chain is working to remodel its stores and adding features such as mezzanine floors where appropriate.

The George clothing range is a key part of its non-food offer and an average of 13.6% in store is devoted to it, but it evidently realises its future potential and has launched a pilot scheme of two standalone George stores - in Leeds and Croydon.

Tesco - Tesco has invested £1.2bn over the last 10 years in non-food. It still has far more non-food in its international than its UK stores and insists that its core offering in the UK will always remain grocery (see right). But its Extra stores now have half their floor space dedicated to non-food, while half of the space it plans to open this year will be dedicated to non-food.

It is now extremely space-efficient, says a spokeswoman. “We are constantly innovating and developing our systems to make good use of floor space, therefore all space in store is used effectively,” she adds.

It is not, however, considering standalone non-food outlets although non-food commercial director Richard Brasher says: “We don’t rule anything out”.