Sainsbury's aims to more than double its online sales to £500m by 2008, as part of plans for its website to make a bigger contribution to its 'Making Sainsbury's Great Again' turnaround strategy.

The increased sales from its current online turnover of £200m will make up a significant proportion of the £2.5bn it has targeted to add to the business by March 2008.

A spokeswoman for the supermarket said that like-for-like online sales were up 50% on last year, thanks to expansion into new areas.

"Our online operation is going from strength to strength, owing to initiatives such as our one-hour promise making it more convenient than ever to shop online, ongoing improvements to the website and greater investment in customer service.

"All this has been achieved through customer retention and word of mouth, and without any marketing.

"Online is a very important service that we offer our customers and is a key part of Making Sainsbury's Great Again."

There will now be a bigger focus on marketing, specifically customer retention, with the aim of increasing the frequency of shop and size of basket for low-volume shoppers. It also plans to build on its targeting and segmentation strategy to ensure that "we do not give our customers a reason to switch to the competition".

The supermarket relaunched its online shopping site last October, ditching its Sainsbury's To You brand in favour of to avoid customer confusion (The Grocer, 1 October 2005, p9).

In addition, it announced last April that it was adding 200,000 homes to its online catchment areas, giving it 80% coverage across the UK by the end of the year.

Darren Shirley, an analyst at Shore Capital, said the target of £300m extra online sales was achievable.

"If you look at Tesco, it has a £1bn online business and that is largely down to food, not non food, so Sainsbury's is in a good position. But it will need to look at improving its promotion of the offer."?