Sainsbury's convenience store business will be about 'quality, not quantity' and is not merely chasing Tesco's tail, accord-ing to the grocer's c-store supremo Jim McCarthy.
Speaking after the acquisition of 114-store convenience chain Jacksons, McCarthy said Sainsbury's aims to strengthen its convenience portfolio further, but will not make acquisitions simply to gain scale.
He said: 'Our ambition is all about quality rather than quantity. We are keen to acquire quality sites on an organic basis. If quality (convenience groups) come in at a price where we can enhance shareholder value, we would be keen to do that. It's not about having a large number of sites at the expense of quality locations.'
It is understood that Sainsbury's bought Jacksons, which has outlets in Yorkshire and the Midlands, for more than£100 million. Sainsbury's will retain Jacksons' 2,350 staff and managing director Angus Oughtred.
McCarthy said that Jacksons would be able to leverage benefits from Sainsbury's, including stronger chilled and ambient ranges. A number of stores under the fascia Sainsbury's at Jacksons will be tested.
Earlier this year, Sainsbury's acquired 54-store Northeastern convenience chain Bells. Jacksons marks its second strike in a hotly contested battleground.
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive David Rae wants the deal referred to the Competition Commission, and is sending letters to the OFT and DTI.
Rae said that if the big multiples continue to acquire convenience chains, 'people will only be able to buy goods from a different-sized Tesco or Sainsbury's.'