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Client focus: Sainsbury's

Sainsbury’s was the only one of the big four supermarket chains to feature in the current top 50 clients table for the year to July.

The company awarded £153m of work during the 12 months to July, similar to the value of contracts awarded during the previous 12 months.

However, this apparently stable picture masks a rapidly evolving development programme. Like most of the major grocery chains, Sainsbury’s is increasingly focused on smaller-sized stores in terms of new openings.

In 2013/14, Sainsbury’s opened 91 new convenience stores and just 13 supermarkets. In the first quarter of 2014, the group opened 27 new convenience stores and refurbished another dozen.

In contrast, just one supermarket extension opened and three more were refurbished. The company expects to deliver two new convenience stores a week.

Glenigan’s research on the number of projects being developed through the planning process by Sainsbury’s shows consistent growth in line with this greater focus on convenience stores.

Between 2010/11 and 2013/14, the number of Sainsbury’s projects entering the planning system has grown from 88 to 199, yet the combined development value of these schemes dropped from £487.6m to £282.1m.

This reprioritisation has included a greater regional focus on London and the South-east. At the start of the 2013/14 financial year, Sainsbury’s announced plans to open 50 new convenience stores in that area of the country.

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