The ‘new’ Sainsbury’s: Think premium fashion and Habitat

Sainsbury's Tu Premium

Sainsbury’s Tu Premium

Sainsbury’s is really going for it this season and has big news on the fashion front. The supermarket giant, which has been hurt by the on-going tough UK supermarket sector and which is buying Argos to expand its business, is going after the premium fashion sector with its latest launch.

A step too far for an over-ambitious grocer? Maybe not. Its Tu fashion offer is one of the most successful among the supermarket brands (approaching turnover of £1bn) and has been a star performer at Sainsbury’s in recent periods.

Now with Tu Premium, the company said it’s going after the market currently dominated by brands such as Hobbs, Whistles and LK Bennett.

The difference, of course, will be the price (well, did you really expect a supermarket to sell its fashion at £100, £200 or £300?)

As of tomorrow, Tu Premium in 160 Sainsbury’s stores will offer “quality and styling [to] rival Hobbs, LK Bennett and Whistles but with … significantly lower prices that start at £12 rising to £50 for a wool blend wrap coat,” the retailer said.

You can already find the pieces online and while the launch is an interesting one, it certainly doesn’t rival those premium retailers on the trend front. These pieces are classic with items like a navy blue shift dress, grey wider-leg trousers and assorted fine knit sweaters geared more to 9-to-5 dress-code fashion than to hot trends.

Still, it’s certainly a start and it’s not the only initiative for Sainsbury’s this season. The company also plans to take the number of Argos in-store units from 13 to 30 by Christmas and it will open five Mini Habitat stores inside its supermarkets within the next few months.

It may not be too long before we have to stop referring to Sainsbury’s as a supermarket…

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