Supermarket Sainsbury’s has announced plans to close all of its in-store meat, fish and deli counters due to a lack of demand caused by Covid-19.
The retailer says it expects to save at least £60 million in operating costs by closing these counters and adds that the move will also help reduce food waste and energy consumption in-store.
Sainsbury’s revealed that it closed these counters back in March, during the height of the pandemic, in order to focus on feeding the nation. It added that, since the closure, feedback from customers has revealed that they are happy buying meat products in the aisle.
Sales up at Sainsbury’s
The move was announced as part of the retailer’s interim results for the 28 weeks ended 19th September 2020, which saw total retail sales excluding fuel rise by 7.1%.
Online grocery sales for Sainsbury’s grew by 102% in the same period, with digital sales up 117% to £5.8 billion, which accounts for nearly 40% of total sales.
Online capacity for groceries has more than doubled this year, according to Sainsbury’s, with 17% of grocery sales now online compared with 7% in March. It added that it is currently fulfilling over 700,000 online customer orders per week across home delivery and click and collect.
The increase comes off the back of Sainsbury’s plans to lower food prices across all of its stores, with a focus on food innovation by tripling the number of new products it will launch each year.
Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “As we go into lockdown in England for the second time this year and restrictions are in place across the UK, we know our customers and colleagues are feeling anxious and we will do all we can to support them.
“While we are working hard to help feed the nation through the pandemic, we have also spent time thinking about how we deliver for our customers and our shareholders over the longer term.
“We will put food back at the heart of Sainsbury’s. We are already working to make this happen – we have lowered prices on over 1,500 every day grocery products over the past few months and we will do more of this, focusing on the staple products that our customers buy every day.”