Further Update from Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe 08/04/2020
We are continuing to work around the clock to feed the nation in these challenging times.
I wrote to you last week to update you on how we are supporting elderly and vulnerable customers with access to groceries online. I wanted to share some progress we have made on this over the past few days.
When I wrote last, we had offered 450,000 elderly and vulnerable customers priority booking to online delivery. At the end of last week we received the government database, which includes details of all the people in England who have registered with the government to say that they are vulnerable and need help getting a food shop. Since then we have been able to match almost 150,000 additional customers against our database. We have already contacted almost 30,000 of those and so we are now contacting almost 120,000 additional customers to offer them a priority delivery slot.
We are waiting for the databases for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will contact vulnerable customers in those areas as soon as we are able.
We know many elderly and vulnerable people who need to self-isolate are relying on the kindness of family, friends and local communities to shop on their behalf and we encourage this.
You wrote to tell me that product limits were a barrier to being able to shop for other people. We understand that it can be difficult to buy what you need and shop for someone else with the 3 item product limit. We have now lifted buying restrictions on thousands of products and hope that this will help more of you to shop for others. I also want to reassure you that stock levels are now much better right across the store. We are keeping limits on the most popular items for now, including pasta, UHT milk, antibacterial products and some tinned and frozen foods. But you can now feel confident in shopping in our stores at any time of day and being able to find most of what you need.
To help people shop for others easily, we will be introducing a new volunteer gift card and online voucher in the next week or two. I will share more information on this soon.
Many of you have also written to me to tell me about food banks and community groups near you that are struggling in this crisis. We know from our ongoing support of food banks that this is a particularly tough time for them right across the country. To help with this, we have donated £3 million to Fareshare, who will use that money to distribute donated food to the people who need it the most. We are also partnering with Comic Relief and the BBC on The Big Night In which aims to raise money for people impacted by COVID 19. We’ll be sharing more information on this in stores and online.
Previous update 03/04/2020
Keeping you and our colleagues safe
Keeping you and our colleagues safe is our number one priority. This week we have brought in further measures to help you keep a safe distance from other customers and from our colleagues when you are visiting our stores.
We have queuing systems in place outside stores and ask you to please queue at a safe distance of two metres apart. Please also try to keep a safe distance from other customers and from our colleagues when you are doing your shop. We have placed clear markings on shop floors to help you know what a safe distance is.
From today, we are asking everyone to please only send one adult per household to our shops. This helps us keep people a safe distance apart and also helps to reduce queues to get into stores. Our store teams will be asking groups with more than one adult to choose one adult to shop and will ask other adults to wait. Children are of course welcome if they are not able to stay at home.
To help keep our colleagues safe while serving customers, we now have screens at most manned checkouts. In the next few days we will have finished installing the screens across all manned checkouts in every supermarket, convenience store and Argos collection point.
Feeding the nation
We have been working hard with our suppliers to improve our product availability. Most people are now just buying what they need for themselves and their families. This means we now often have stock on the shelves all day and at the end of the day.
People have been queuing to get into our stores when they open in the mornings, but customers are now finding they can shop at any time of the day and feel confident in finding most of what they need.
As stock continues to build, we have been reviewing whether we still need to limit the number of items people buy. I am pleased to tell you that we will start to remove limits from Sunday. Limits will remain in place on the most popular items which include UHT milk, pasta and tinned tomatoes.
We have removed limits from Easter eggs immediately as we know families often want to buy more than three and we have plenty of these in all stores and online.
Supporting elderly and vulnerable customers
We are continuing to prioritise elderly and vulnerable customers for online delivery slots and our customer Careline has helped 170,000 customers, who will now get priority access to online delivery. In total, we have offered priority booking to more than 450,000 elderly or vulnerable customers. I apologise to customers who have been struggling to get through to our online team. The team is working at full capacity and we are doing our very best to get to people as quickly as possible.
We are expanding our groceries online service as much and as quickly as we can. Two weeks ago we had 370,000 online grocery slots available. By the end of next week we will have increased this to 600,000 across home delivery and click and collect and we will continue to add more capacity over the coming weeks.
Supporting our colleagues
Our colleagues really are doing a remarkable job. I have been into a number of stores over the past few days and have been struck by their dedication and their determination to do the best job for our customers. These are very uncertain times and our colleagues really are on the frontline.
We are doing everything we can to keep our colleagues safe and this includes supporting them if they need to self-isolate. Where colleagues are considered vulnerable, we are paying them in full for the recommended 12 weeks self-isolation, including colleagues who live with extremely vulnerable family members who the government has asked to shield for 12 weeks. I am personally committed to ensuring the safety of our colleagues and we will continue to do the right thing to protect them throughout this time.
I have been delighted to see that customers have told us they think colleague friendliness is at an all-time high at the moment. I think this is real testament both to the hard work of our colleagues and also the fantastic recognition they are getting for the vital role they are playing throughout this crisis. Thank you for treating our colleagues with the respect and kindness they deserve. They really are doing their best to serve our customers well in these challenging times.