Sainsbury’s has restructured its fresh foods department, splitting it in two to tap into new growth opportunities.
The shake-up has been inspired by the success of its new experimental format at Selly Oak in Birmingham and will see it look to drive growth across its concessions and cafés.
The 67,000 sq ft store opened in November and is a hybrid of traditional supermarket and department store. It features a Food Market area with a capacity for 180 seated diners. The food court features a host of fast food concessions such as Little India Kitchen, Fresh Kitchen, Wok Street and Sushi Gourmet.
The customer response to the food court and what Sainsbury’s refers to as its ‘value-added’ food offer has been the key factor in the retailer making this a priority for the business, it said.
Sainsbury’s is now splitting its fresh food team in two, creating a new business unit for ‘value-added’ fresh food covering counters, bakery, concessions, food to go, food ordering and cafés. Sainsbury’s currently operates 547 stores with counters, 326 in-store cafés and 88 supermarkets with a concession.
The new unit will be headed-up by Jon Bye, who is currently zone managing director for the south. He will take up the new role at the end of July. Director of fresh food Adrian Cook is set to leave the business at that time and The Grocer understands Sainsbury’s has already hired a new fresh food head, who is set to join from a rival retailer.
Bye has been at Sainsbury’s for 11-and-a-half years and his new position will entail a combination of buying and service. Sainsbury’s buying director James Bailey will retain responsibility for grocery. He will report directly to Sainsbury’s food commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks.
“The trial of our new value added food offer in Selly Oak is proving really popular with customers and we have a real opportunity to improve our cafes, counters and bakeries to make them more attractive to customers and that’s a big focus for the year ahead,” said Mills-Hicks.