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Store Highlight: Hammersmith Local

Store Highlight: Hammersmith Local

Sainsbury’s Local concept

In the late 90s, Sainsbury’s Local was a new concept for the company. It was concieved as a convenience store, about the size of a tennis court, designed specifically for those living and working nearby. Potential customers were expected to come on foot, on their way to and from work with a view to buy a sandwich, grab fresh salad or bread. The local would normally fit in with an existing high street or a shopping parade.

Locals were not meant to be mini supermarkets. The range of goods were geared to the convenience shopper who buys only a few items at a time. The stores were designed to cater for lunch hour and other peak time use with express checkouts and an open layout.

Hammersmith Local

On 14th July 1998 Sainsbury’s opened its first Local store for business at 179-183 Fulham Palace Road, London. It was only 3000 sq ft in space but it addressed the grocery needs of local customers. Situated in a Victorian suburb, most of its customers were local residents and small business, together with visitors to the busy Charing Cross Hospital nearby. The busiest times were early evenings, when people are returning from work, and weekends.

The store occupies one of the larger units in a century-old shopping parade on a busy main road. People that come in either live or work close by and can visit the store on foot, so there is no need for a car park. It has been recognised that convenience stores cater for customers needing a missing ingredient or making ‘emergency shops’ for essentials that have run out. Therefore, the range of quality fresh fruit and vegetables and prepared salads in the store was extensive.

There’s also an acknowledgement that for many people there’s not enough time to cook, so the Sainsbury’s Local carried a bigger range of ready meals than the average supermarket and had a special plinth at the front for the ‘meal of the day’ – a meal suggestion including wine and desserts. An in-store bakery offered customers fresh bakery produce, plus a coffee bar provided yet another incentive for passers-by.

Staff working across Locals had to be trained to carry out the whole range of tasks, from serving at the checkout to operating the bakery. Their knowledge of produce on offer is also high as customers would require advice on meals to buy.

The store was open 6am-midnight, 7 days a week.

Some interesting food facts from first Local in Hammersmith in its first month of trading:

  • Number one best-selling product was…….banana.
  • 90% of store’s best sellers were fresh food items.
  • Enough nectarines were sold to cover the floor of the 3,000 sq. ft convenience store.
  • More than 7,000 lunch boxes were filled with the store’s freshly baked bread rolls.
  • They sold more tubs of humous, than tins of baked beans.
  • More than 2,500 dinner tables enjoyed the Sainsbury’s Local ‘Meal of the Day’.

Further Sainsbury’s Local opening took place in Headcorn, Kent later in 1998 and you can read about it here.