Sainsbury emasculates Essentials

Sainsbury’s has slashed the number of products in its price-fighting Essential for the Essentials campaign and relaunched the strategy under the title "Low Price Essentials".

The chain has cut nearly 200 lines from the campaign, and now only 120 are covered. The in-store marketing of the strategy has been "de-emphasised" and in-store merchandising has been relaunched in yellow and black. The original red-and-gold livery has been dropped.

Sainsbury’s now makes more use of special offers and multibuys. City analysts say that the original Essentials campaign misjudged Sainsbury’s customers, for whom low prices were of limited importance. Sainsbury’s says: "We remain committed to our Essentials low price range which is proving very successful. The number of products within Essentials has changed continuously as we have experimented with the product mix, and taken into account seasonal variations and buying arrangements."

It is also thought that Sainsbury’s is introducing own-label products at tertiary prices, in yogurt and pet food. The chain denies it would launch a range similar to Tesco’s Value Lines.

Somerfield launches its own value range next week, called "Basics", featuring 101 low-priced food and non-food products. The launch aims to attract "one-stop" customers. A 1m television ad campaign breaks on Monday to support the range, with creative work by Butler Lutos Sutton Wilkinson.

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