EXCLUSIVE Julian Hunt Sainsbury is looking to flex its promotions and ranging to boost sales as part of a massive project to meet better the needs of consumers. Assistant managing director Sara Weller said the supermarket chain was "leveraging consumer understanding" as part of its efforts to improve the business. Shoppers had been divided into 10 segments in three areas ­ quality oriented, family oriented and price oriented. Sainsbury's heartland was quality oriented consumers who accounted for 49% of its shoppers, Weller said. They could be divided into four segments ­ organic lovers, foodies, health conscious and time poor, cash rich. "We are applying our customer learning to better align our promotions," said Weller. "We can look by customer segment who buys what type of promotion. We need to do a better job of flexing our promotional programme to meet their different needs." That was most important in customer segments where Sainsbury underperformed, such as typical families'. At the same time, the chain is looking at optimising the ranges in its stores. They have been divided into format clusters based on the shopping missions of customers ­ mixed, main and main+ ­ and seven sub formats. Armed with these insights, the chain plans to adapt the ranges, pricing, promotions and service levels in the stores to match consumer needs in particular areas. The first store trials go live in the next few months, but Sainsbury bosses already believe this work could yield a £500m sales opportunity. Technology is underpinning the projects. The multiple's new data warehouse went live on October 1, and Weller said: "This will allow us to be more interactive with consumer information." At the same time, much of the detailed ranging work for the cluster programme will use software being installed early next year. l Sainsbury suppliers' conference, page 14 {{NEWS }}