sainsburysSainsbury’s is planning to convert shop space, comparable to nearly 40 supermarkets. The supermarket chain will swap food for non-food in an attempt to act on declining grocery sales, Sainsbury’s CFO John Rogers said yesterday.

The Big Four grocer has pinpointed 1.5m sq ft of space across the UK, which makes up 6% of its portfolio, that isn’t necessarily needed for food because customers are making the switch to convenience stores, the discounters, and dotcom.

Sainsbury’s will use half of this space to sell own-brand non-food products including kitchenware and homeware. The company is in talks with retailer about subletting the remaining space. Deals to open concessions with Argos and Jessops have already been agreed.

Sainsbury’s has also unveiled trials of a new app, one that will help customers shop in-store. The app will enable customers to pay for their supermarket shop on smartphones and can identify where the item they are looking for is located in that shop.

Customers would need to scan items on their phone as they shop, and then take a photo of their debit or credit card to pay. They can also create a shopping list, or search for items on their smartphone, and be told the location of the products in the supermarket via a map.

The app is being trialled by Sainsbury’s staff in selected stores and may be made available to customers in a couple of months.

In addition, Rogers has confirmed that Sainsbury’s is expecting to raise £150m in profits via the sales of new developments in London for luxury housing.

The retailer is confident it can make £90m by building 440 flats above a supermarket in Fulham that is being redeveloped, as well as £60m by building 750 flats above a shop close to Battersea Power Station.

By Alison