Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King bats away online store threat

Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King yesterday warned grocers not to neglect bricks-and-mortar stores at the expense of online shopping.

The former FTSE 100 CEO, who left Sainsbury’s in July after 10 years at the helm, said 96p in every pound spent on food in Britain was still done so in physical stores.

“If you remember that statistic then you’ll think about change in a different way, I think. It just might be that customers really do quite like doing their own shopping in real shops for their food and groceries,” he said, speaking at the World Travel Market event yesterday.

“If you just focus on making that an ever-better experience and worry a little bit less about the bogeyman you might run a darn sight better business. If you’re convinced that the four [pence in the pound] is the future, then the 96p will become smaller.”

King also reiterated that he would like to do “another big thing”, but that it would not be in food retailing or with any potential competitor to Sainsbury’s – if only because of his contractual obligations.

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