Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has warned that “we are not going to see a sea change in consumer spending” over the next 12 months despite signs pointing to an economic recovery.
King told the IGD Convention cautioned this morning that the economy was “less negative” rather than “more positive”.
However in the last 12 months, King said that Sainsbury’s shoppers were buying “slightly” less on promotion. He added that the retailer had experienced an uptick in own brand sales.
King said that operators of large hypermarkets needed to “rediscover” the primary purpose of their stores which is “fantastic food.”
He said that when store sizes rise to 100,000 sq ft and above “you miss the point that it’s about food.”
“I personally never subscribed that that was a good environment in which to sell food,” he said.
However, he insisted that big stores between 40,000 sq ft and 80,000 sq ft with food at their core were still the “powerhouses of our industry”. His comments come as grocers including Tesco call an end to the space race and halt the opening of hypermarkets.
Earlier on in the conference IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch called for a “revolution in transparency and traceability” to rebuild trust to higher levels than before the horse meat scandal earlier this year.
IGD ShopperVista research unveiled at the event showed that 56% of shoppers – up from 34% in 2011 – want to know more about where their food comes from.
King said: “There’s always going to be a crack there that consumers will keep an eye on and that’s a good thing.
“We must never be guilty of thinking that something profound didn’t happen with what happened with horse meat. It shakes us out of any complacency we had. It raised questions about supply chain and we have to address it differently.”