Sainsbury’s to integrate Argos into nearly all UK supermarkets

J Sainsbury Plc will open Argos branches or collection points inside almost all of its stores, as the UK grocer detailed how it plans to integrate the catalogue retailer it acquired last month.

“Over time, we envisage that there won’t be a single Sainsbury’s shop, with the exception of some very small convenience shops, where you won’t either be able to see an Argos concession, or be able to click-and-collect and pick up your items from your local shop — and within 4 hours,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Coupe said at a press event in London.

Exclusive insights in your inbox, from our technology reporters around the world. Argos, which sells everything from jewellery to televisions, currently operates more than a dozen mini-stores inside Sainsbury’s shops and will open another 19 before Christmas. The merger should ultimately result in a net increase of about 1,000 jobs, said John Rogers, CEO of Sainsbury’s Argos, as the unit is now called. Sainsbury bought Argos’ parent company Home Retail Group Plc for 1.4 billion pounds ($1.71 billion) in a deal that widened the supermarket’s non-food offerings.

Coupe said the Argos rollout will “offer customers an unprecedented level of convenience – 2,000 places where you can click and collect.” Sainsbury’s operates 601 supermarkets and 782 convenience stores around the UK, and Home Retail Group brings 739 Argos outlets and three Habitat home-furnishing stores to the portfolio.

Sainsbury’s is testing same-day deliveries in South London with its “Chop Chop” app, as it attempts to fight back against Inc.’s dominance of the online delivery business. Sainsbury’s Argos plans to unveil a mobile shopping app that allows children to browse its catalogue and create a digital wish list ahead of the Christmas shopping season.

Coupe also said the acquisition will boost the supermarket’s banking arm, which offers credit cards, insurance, travel money, and loans.

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