Argos to open 10 ‘digital stores’ inside Sainsbury’s branches

Argos has announced plans to create digital stores inside existing branches of Sainsbury’s in a drive to reach more customers.

The general merchandise retailer will trial 10 stores, ranging from 1,000 to over 5,000 square feet, where customers will be able to purchase non-grocery items.

Customers will be given a choice of 20,000 products which can be bought instantly or reserved, while an additional 40,000 products can also be ordered in store for home delivery.

The new stores will be open by the summer, although their locations have not yet been revealed.

John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos said: “Our new distribution model allows us to provide customers in any Argos location with a choice of around 20,000 lines within hours, regardless of the size or stocking capacity of the store.”

Argos has been on a drive to revolutionise its customer experience and experiment with its store format, gradually phasing out its traditional laminated catalogue. Over 40 of its stores now offer free WiFi and 60 second collection for online orders.

Argos has already opened up concessions stores inside branches of Homebase and launched its smallest shop in its 42-year history at London Underground station Cannon Street last year.

The company is the UK’s largest high street retailer online with around 123m customer orders a year.

The old Argos catalogue is slowing being phased out of its branches

The tie-up with Sainsbury’s will provide the supermarket’s customers greater convenience said Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s.

“They will bring something new and different to our customers, and fit well with our strategy of making our supermarkets more convenient. As well as looking at carefully selected partners, we continue to roll out our ranges of own brand clothing and general merchandise in our supermarkets to give customers even more choice and value,” said Mr Coupe.

The partnership comes as Sainsbury’s has forecast that 25pc of its store estate will have some under-used space over the next five years.

The supermarket has been under pressure to protect and grow its market share amid growing business for hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

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