Sainsbury’s pulls Fresh Kitchen food trial

Sainsbury’s has closed its Fresh Kitchen food-on-the-go store and put plans to launch further stores on hold after admitting that the first trial wasn’t effective.

Fresh Kitchen

The supermarket will not renew its lease of the store on London’s Fleet Street, but has not ruled out opening further Fresh Kitchen stores with a different offer, in different kinds of locations.

Sainsbury’s opened the standalone store in February last year to trial a possible extension for Sainsbury’s into the lucrative food on the go market.
It was one of a number of efforts Sainsbury’s is making to diversify its core supermarket business and boost revenue.

The food store sold a range of freshly prepared sandwiches, baguettes and hot food under the Fresh Kitchen brand.

At launch it was mooted that Sainsbury’s could open a chain of Fresh Kitchen stores nationwide, pitching the supermarket against the likes of Prêt a Manger, Eat and Greggs.

Analysts have signalled their disappointment that the trial was not broadened beyond one store. They argue that there is a logic behind the venture to take advantage of Sainsbury’s fresh quality food credentials, but the Fleet Street location was deemed “unusual and far from a basis to succeed”.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman says: “We opened the Fresh Kitchen concept store a little over a year ago and have learnt a great deal from the trial.

We’ve learnt for example what the ideal footprint should be and we don’t want to compromise on either quality or service by staying in the Fleet Street store. While we may come back to the high street in the future with a bigger and slightly different offering, we are not going to renew the lease for the current store.”

The news comes ahead of Sainsbury’s full-year trading update, due on Wednesday, when it is expected to report a 2% rise in like-for-like sales.

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