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British grocer Sainsbury's partners with Microsoft to use AI for data insights

A worker's uniform displays company branding at a Sainsbury's store in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Sainsbury's said on Friday it has agreed a five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft that will use the technology company's artificial intelligence capabilities and the supermarket group's rich data.

Seeking revenue gains and cost savings, more retailers are using generative AI to boost personalised shopping experiences for consumers and make staff working practices more efficient.

Sainsbury's, Britain's second-largest grocer after Tesco, said it would use AI to create a more interactive shopping experience for online shoppers, while also improving search functions.

In stores, staff would have real-time data and insights for key processes, such as shelf replenishment.

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Time to market for new services and product innovations would also be reduced, Sainsbury's said.

No financial details of the partnership were disclosed.

Sainsbury's in February updated the market on its strategy, setting a new cost-savings target of 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) over three years and pledging to boost returns for shareholders.

Last month, it forecast up to 10% growth in profit in the current financial year that began on March 3, confident it can continue to win more customers from rivals.

($1 = 0.7895 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Jamie Freed)