• Sainsbury’s will double the number of products it sells in China 
  • It has expanded its online trial with Tmall Global
  • The grocer said products to make a British breakfast and English afternoon tea have proved hits

Sainsbury’s is stepping up its operation in China by expanding its trial with Tmall Global and doubling the number of goods it sells there.

The grocer will soon sell 100 products via China-based etailer Alibaba, including tea bags, coffee and pasta, following “increasing demand”.

Sainsbury’s chief financial officer John Rogers, who is due to take the helm at Home Retail Group after the grocer’s takeover of the Argos owner, said: “Chinese online shoppers are increasingly demanding high-quality international products.

“Many customers also want to replicate tastes and occasions that they have enjoyed or heard about through international travel. Products to make a British breakfast and English afternoon tea have therefore proved hits.”

Sainsbury’s first began selling on Tmall in September last year, joining a number of British brands, including Burberry, Asos and Waitrose, which sell via Royal Mail’s virtual store on the Alibaba-owned site.

It will be the only international retailer featured in Tmall’s ‘super brand day’ promotion later this month.

Rogers said: “Our trial with Tmall has enabled us to learn a lot about China’s huge digital market, including the importance of sales events such as Singles’ Day.

“Alibaba’s expertise in this rapidly growing market will be a huge asset to us as we grow and develop our business in China.”

In 2010, the grocer sent a six-man team to China in order to explore the possibility of opening stores there. However, plans were shelved and it is believed top executive Darren Shapland stood down as a result in 2011.