Bryan Roberts: Sainsbury’s stores still a mixed bag

Sainsbury s Nine Elms Trolley self checkout

Against a backdrop of relentless discounters, a resurgent Tesco and a recovering Asda, Sainsbury’s put out its first-quarter update this morning, putting a brave face on what might be considered a tepid set of numbers.

I’m always keen to accentuate the positive, so was pleased to hear about further investments in lower prices, better availability, improved health and beauty departments and market share gains in clothing.

Sainsbury’s also trumpeted its work on store refreshes, plastic reduction, growth in its Taste the Difference and plant-based ranges, further progress in the Argos assimilation and the introduction of new technologies.

All great on paper, but I always like the feet-on-the-ground approach, so I trundled off to my local Sainsbury’s superstore to take a punter’s eye view on what a typical shopper might be seeing in a typical store.

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