Sainsbury's: still on top form

26 January, 2007

Sainsbury's drinks division proved it could remain at the top of its game after picking up another heap of awards. Not only was it Supermarket of the Year at OLN's Drinks Retailing Awards in February, it won the most gold medals of any supermarket at the International Wine Challenge.

Celebrations continued at Christmas when sales of its Taste the ­Difference Vintage Champagne rocketed after the bubbly came top in Which? magazine's blind taste test.

The Taste the Difference brand was extended into wine , with 30 wines adopting the name as a replacement for the old Classic ­Selection fine wine label and, in September, another beer - a Franconian-style dark lager - was added to the same label's beer range (created with London's Meantime Brewery). The So Organic brand, already present in the wine category, was introduced to beer and spirits through a Fairtrade white rum and a West Country cider.

This year will see a revamp of the drinks department with new signage and layout and improved shelf-edge labels to help with customer education and service. Following a trial of the new look in three stores, there are plans to roll it out into others over the course of the year.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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