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Sainsbury's Tu ecommerce pilot to be rolled out

Sainsbury’s has confirmed it will roll out online sales of its Tu clothing brand in the first half of this year following a “very successful” pilot in the Midlands launched last September.

The retailer invited 200 customers based in the Midlands to take part in the trial, making around 80% of the collection available to buy online. Items were eligible for home or in-store delivery, with approximately 50 stores also offering click-and-collect.

Before that, it had used its website only as a promotional tool for Tu.

Today Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “The trial was very successful and we anticipate rolling out in the first half of this year, probably on a region-by-region basis.”

It comes as Sainsbury’s revealed this morning that clothing sales were up nearly 10% year on year in the 14 weeks to January 3, while food price deflation hit total retail sales, which, excluding fuel, were down 0.4%.

Tu celebrated its tenth anniversary during the quarter and launched its biggest ever collection, comprising 1,500 womenswear items, a 500-piece menswear range and a smaller kidswear offering.

Coupe said: “Clothing is a relatively small, but fast-growing part of the business. That’s something we want to grow in future by increasing the amount of space in shops we give to general merchandise. That’s a central part of our strategy.”

Analysts at Bernstein Research said: “Sainsbury’s has identified that they have some excess space (25% of their stores are too large). The clothing and general merchandise sales increases show that its plan to fill half of this with its non-food offer is a sensible plan, with this continuing to be a growth channel.”

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