Sainsbury’s launches Central city chain to challenge Tesco Metro

Sainsbury’s has launched a competitor to Tesco’s Metro city centre chain called Sainsbury’s Central.

The new chain opens with a 12,000 sq ft store in Glasgow on March 31, with one planned for Tottenham Court Road, in the middle of this year, and two, at London and Edinburgh, opening early next year.

A total of 30 sites have been earmarked by the supermarket for the new stores, which have been re-fitted from scratch rather than being converted from existing supermarkets.

The move follows Tesco’s launch of the Metro concept in 1992 and Sainsbury’s own trials, such as the Local convenience store format, which has two London sites.

Sainsbury’s ran a pilot of three stores in 1994 which operated under the name Sainsbury’s Central, but these were not based in city centres and were converted from existing supermarkets.

A spokesman says: “That was a pilot that was not rolled out. Some of the ideas were incorporated in the supermarket business, but these are two totally separate things.”

The new Central format, which is intended for 8-12,000 sq ft sites, will offer ready-meals, groceries for “top-up shopping”, and a colour-coded format intended to speed up visits for busy urban shoppers.

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