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Sainsbury: A Couple’s Endeavor

August 23, 2012

We see many large corporations today. They are well-known nationally and some even internationally. They are dominant players in the market. We often wonder if we start a company will it ever be as large.

It is possible since most big companies started out small. Take the case of John James Sainsbury and his wife Marry Ann Sainsbury. In 1869 the couple opened their very first store in Drury Lane, London. One of the key foresights that the couple had was offering its own brand of products in 1882. The store also had uniformed attendants.  Over time for easy recognition all the stores started to look the same.

In 1916 Sainsbury set up their training school so that the employees would be well-trained.  The company endured the war years even halving the labels on their can items to save paper during WW II. It was the first store to offer self-service in Britain in the 1950s. In 1961 it became the first food retailer to computerize distribution.

The company went public in 1973 as J Sainsbury plc. At that time the family own 85% of the company but over the years the Sainsbury family share has gone down through selling of their stocks.

Today J Sainsbury plc has over 1,000 stores with 440 convenience stores. It also owns Sainsbury Bank with Lloyds Banking Group and has two property joint ventures with Land Security Group and The British Land Company PLC. Sainsbury also provides insurance products, credit cards, and travel money.

The company has been a major influence in the retail industry of the United Kingdom. Before it grew to be so large it all began with one store in Drury Lane, London.

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