Its open season on Sainsbury's

Oct 17 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Who would be the CEO of ailing retail giant, Sainbury's? If the third profits warning of the year was not enough, then articles like this in the Sunday Times (I'm divorcing Sainsbury's. I want to walk down Tesco's aisles) only underline the magnitude of the task facing Justin King if he is to reverse the firm's apparently inexorable, inevitable spiral of decline.

The nice duty manager breaks off to tell a woman that they don’t have her usual coffee. “I hate Sainsbury!” she replies with passion. He shrugs. The good staff want to leave. The distribution system is demoralising. The fruit and veg guy can no longer say: “We’re OK for potatoes,” or “Send more salad because the weather’s good.” It is all done centrally. Stuff just turns up. And they must shift it, at a profit too. But because they can’t, labour costs are cut: shelf-stackers are laid off. Then folk like me get narked when they can’t find the couscous.

...The store’s huge site is an environmental disaster: plastic bags dangle from every tree, broken trolleys lie in ditches, rats scurry through the rubbish in the undergrowth.

The most precious asset an organisation has is its standing in the eyes of the public. Reputations are painstakingly built and quickly destroyed - all the more so when you manage to alienate the national press.

Still, according to the Observer, Justin King at least appears to be moving in the right direction. Sainsbury's is planning to 'go back to basics', cutting hundreds of management jobs and recruiting 3,000 new staff to keep shelves stocked and give shoppers a better service.

What was it that Dr James Rieley wrote in the Telegraph last week?

Reductions in customer service lead to fewer customers, and consequently less revenues and profits, and more headcount reductions.

What a tragedy for Sainsbury's that their management team didn't realise this simple fact until it was too late.


Older Comments

in looking for a place to make a comment on sainsbury's as women see it now. we live on the Isle of Wight we were really pleased to see sainsbury's arrive here having in the past living on the mainland always used your stores because of quality,service,pricing and well supplied shelves. but I was listening to a few ladies commenting on the island store and one thing they all agreed on was the fact that every time they visited your store there were several common items you were out of which was annoying.because they had to go somewhere else to get them.Morrison's on the other hand does not have the same problem! we were under the impression that this problem had been solved......sorry but it has come-on sainsbury's pull your socks up we would hate to stop coming to your store.we would like to see you improve..... please note this is not a one off complaint but a remark made by several people.

philip bovill iow