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Sainsbury's new-look wine aisles working

Published:  10 September, 2010

Sainsbury's drinks chief Justin James said its radical in-store layout changes, grouping wines by style and customer appeal, was "gaining momentum".

The changes, which segment customers into novice, established, competent and confident consumers, were implemented 12 weeks ago.

James said the "boundary-pushing" layout helped "future-proof" the category against measures, suggested by government and the health lobby, which could limit wine's position in the future. 

He said the new layout also simplified wine for purchasers: "We have a category that baffles consumers and, left the way it is, leads consumers to make their decisions on price and promotions alone.

"All our insight tells us customers are looking for help to shop and explore the category".

He said over time brands had emerged which "helped customers navigate the category and provide reassurance", but added there were "mixed messages" when it comes to consumer engagement.

James said the new layout points to a bigger own-label range, case deals and new arrivals alongside the core range. He added that driving consumers into the wine aisles, rather than having them pick up promotional bottles throughout the store, has resulted in an increase in non-promotional sales.

James said he was particularly pleased with the performance of its House range  which, aside from attracting novice consumers, was also proving popular with its most-confident purchasers.

He added wine was a "champion" category for Sainsbury's, and had "tentacles which reach out all over the store".