Sainsbury’s is ramping up its efforts to integrate the Argos and Habitat businesses after lifting the lid on its latest plans to build the businesses.

The supermarket giant has revealed plans to convert 60 existing Argos stores to its new digital format and open 10 further Mini Habitat shop-in-shops inside some of its larger sheds.

Sainsbury’s, which acquired Home Retail Group in a £1.4bn deal last September, unveiled the plans on the day it opened its 50th Argos digital store inside a supermarket, at Kiln Lane in Epsom.

Multi-product, multi-channel

The grocer said it marked “an important milestone” in its strategy to become “a multi-product, multichannel retailer.”

Sainsbury’s has pledged to open 250 Argos shop-in-shops over three years, but has also rubber stamped plans to revamp Argos’ existing store estate.

The plans to transform 60 standalone shops into the digital format will mean that over a third of the Argos estate will be digital in a year’s time, allowing shoppers to order on touchscreen pads in-store.

Mini Habitat

Sainsbury’s launched its first Mini Habitat concession at its ‘supermarket of the future’ in Nine Elms last October and launched its seventh (measuring 1,790 sq ft) in Epsom this morning.

Habitat boss Clare Askem on the brand's future with Sainsbury's

The retailer plans to open a further 10 during its current financial year.

It came three months after Habitat said it was trialling mini standalone stores at regional locations across the UK. The first of them opened in Leeds.

Sainsbury’s Argos chief executive John Rogers said: “The opening of our 50th Argos digital store just seven months after we acquired the company shows we are moving ahead at pace with our strategy.

“Our cutting-edge digital capability is a core strength of our business and our decision to transform 60 Argos stores by March next year moves our strategy on further.”