Sainsbury’s is to open mobile phone shops in its supermarkets as it makes a play for the lucrative market which, among the grocers, is dominated by archrival Tesco.
Sainsbury’s is to trial a dedicated own brand concession in two stores. It will open a concession in its Letchworth store in two week’s time followed by another in its King’s Lynn store in the next month.
It is understood that the trial will be reviewed early next year.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman told Retail Week: “We’re always looking at ways to serve our customers better and we will be trialling moving our mobile phone offer into a new dedicated location within our Letchworth store and soon to be opened Kings Lynn store.”
The retailer currently sells phones in store and online. It has hosted two concessions run by phone specialist O2 since 2010.
The move comes just a month after Sainsbury’s appointed former Carphone Warehouse director Anthony Hemmerdinger as business development director.
It is a return to Sainsbury’s for Hemmerdinger, who held the position of zone managing director for London and the south at the grocer, before moving to Carphone Warehouse last year.
He will take up his new role at the grocer on January 1, 2013.
Tesco, which entered the mobile phones market in 2008, this month claimed it is now the biggest Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in the UK with more than one million pay monthly customers. It opened 15 new phone shops in stores in the first half and is currently trialling a new look phone shop.
Sainsbury’s was last year reported to be in talks with Everything Everywhere to secure its own MVNO deal however a deal has not yet been unveiled.
Asda has had concessions in store since July 2010. The own brand stores are run by A1 Comms.