British supermarket giant Sainsbury’s announced this week that it will sell clothing under its Tu apparel line online. This is the first time that supermarket will move sales of clothing online. The idea will be tried out as a pilot project in its early phases where the supermarket chain will invite a targeted group of customers in Midlands. While Sainsbury’s ranks as the seventh-largest clothing retailer, it has thus far not resorted to selling apparel online as it doubted the profitability of such a move. On similar lines, Primark, one of the fastest growing retailers in the United Kingdom does not sell its products online.
According to sources from Sainsbury’s the Tu trial will be initiated in August. As part of the trial, Sainsbury’s will sell kids’ wear, menswear, and women’s wear. This will also include clothing designed by Gok Wan. Shoppers can either choose to have products delivered direct to their doorstep or opt for ‘click and collect’ where they can order online and collect their orders from Sainsbury’s stores. The company’s non-food trading director James Brown said that high-street style clothing being sold at their supermarkets has proven popular among customers over the last few years. He added that the company’s sales continue to show strong growth. To launch this ambitious initiative, the company has doubled its design team besides investing heavily in their clothing quality. The company is now looking to explore the online sales channel as a complementary strategy to their in-store sales.
According to market analysts, the company is at a critical juncture. HSBC termed the supermarket giant as being at a ‘turning point’ whereas Deutsche Bank opined that the company would face a ‘tough year’.