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Sainsbury's confirm 420 standalone Argos stores will close

Olivia Heath
·3-min read
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

• Approximately 420 Argos standalone stores will close within the next three years

• 120 standalone Argos stores closed during the first lockdown in March will now close permanently

• Plans to integrate 150 more Argos stores inside Sainsbury's supermarket

• Habitat to become the main home and furniture brand

Sainsbury's has today announced plans to close 420 Argos stores, in a move that will reduce the Argos standalone store estate to around 100 by March 2024.

Since the coronavirus pandemic and the first lockdown in March, 120 standalone Argos stores have not reopened – and they will now close permanently, it has been confirmed.

The supermarket's strategy update also reveals that by March 2024, up to 150 more Argos stores will open in Sainsbury’s and there will be around 150-200 more Argos collection points in supermarkets and convenience stores. This means every Sainsbury’s supermarket will have either an Argos store in store or a collection point.

The move will reduce operating costs by £105 million, and to support this, Sainsbury's will build 32 Local Fulfilment Centres across the UK to operate its fast track delivery operations, delivering to customers' homes and to Argos stores and collection points across the country within hours.

The news comes after Argos revealed it would cease printing the iconic Argos catalogue (with the exception of the Christmas Gift Guide) as customers are increasingly shopping online.

And there's more, with further investment, it is hoped that Habitat will become the main home and furniture brand across Sainsbury’s and Argos.

'Habitat is a strong brand and, by increasing its visibility in Sainsbury’s and Argos stores and online, expanding the product range and making prices more affordable, we have a significant opportunity to grow market share,' the proposal read.

In regards to Sainsbury's supermarkets, its meat, fish and deli counters will close, based on reduced customer demand. The move is said to save at least £60 million in operating costs and will reduce food waste and energy consumption in stores.

As a result of all the proposals, around 3,500 staff could lose their roles. 'We have an excellent track record of finding alternative roles for colleagues – for example, where we have moved colleagues from Argos standalone stores to stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets, we have retained 90 per cent of colleagues. We will do everything possible to find alternative roles for our colleagues.'

Sainsbury's expects to close 15 to 20 supermarkets and 50 to 60 convenience stores over the next three years, a slight increase from last year’s property strategy programme.

Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc, said in a statement: 'COVID-19 has accelerated a number of shifts in our industry. Investments over recent years in digital and technology have laid the foundations for us to flex and adapt quickly as customers needed to shop differently. Around 19 per cent of our sales were digital this time last year and nearly 40 per cent of our sales are digital today.'

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