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Store Highlight: Telford

Store Highlight: Telford

On the 2nd of October 1973 Sainsbury’s opened their newest superstore in Telford with quite a few new interior and exterior features. The superstore had a wines and spirits section, clothing department, delicatessen and in-store bakery, enclosed within their own attractive ‘shop within a shop’ sections. It also sold kitchenware and hardware products, so there really was everything under one roof.

Telford was the company’s second superstore and the largest in the company with 2,397 square metres of trading area and 24 checkouts. It was part of the new shopping centre, serving new, busy communities of this Shropshire city. This superstore had great combination of space, easy access and plenty of parking for over 1200 cars.

In-store bakery

The Telford superstore had the first in-store bakery of any JS shop and produced pastries as well as a full range of loaves. In addition, a normal range of wrapped and sliced bread was available in the main body of the shop.

The aim of the bakery department was not to sell a single loaf more than an hour old. It was in this department that some of the hardest work was put in to open on time. With only four days to go before the opening, workmen were still putting the finishing touches to the equipment, decorations and tiling. The staff of the bakery only managed to move in a day before the store actually opened.

Clothing department

The company wanted to expand into new lines, as there was extra selling space available in the larger supermarkets and so they introduced new clothing departments. On sale was a small range of good quality, well cut smart clothes for all the family at a bargain price. Shirts, skirts, Oxford bags, jeans, knitwear, underwear, a complete range of garments for young children, and fashionable men’s shirts. Basics items such as underwear and socks proved the most popular. The company started selling kitchenware and hardware in August 1973, but this new venture into clothing was the big dealbreaker revolutionising the high street for Sainsbury’s and its customers.

There were approximately 750 different items in the new range, all very reasonably priced. The aim was to sell at the lowest price commensurate with the value and the quality assicuated with all Sainsbury's other products. 

The clothing department was only available at the Telford superstore at the time, but there were plans to extend the range into new store in Bletchley and other new stores across the estate. Back in 1973 this was considered an experimental venture, but time has shown clothing and other non-food departments have become an essential part of supermarket stock.

By 1977, 25 stores sold Sainsbury’s clothing, but the range was discontinued in the 1980s, as the number of food lines increased.  Of course, clothing was re-introduced with the launch of the Tu label in 2004.