Supermarkets have typically extended their services in-store, as we see with clothes, electrical goods and homeware. Sainsbury’s however, is moving out of store by taking over the management of the outpatient pharmacies at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London. This extends its 270 in-store pharmacies, which it plans on doubling within the next three years.
Sainsbury’s move into running hospital pharmacies adds to its operation of nine NHS GP/nurse-led surgeries, and 10 private dental surgeries, in its stores. As government continues to look to private companies to run public services, it will be interesting to see if it will encourage supermarkets to bid for further public service contracts, and if so, which.
This news comes in the same week that Sainsbury’s will trial mobile phone shops in two of its supermarkets, in direct competition with Tesco over the lucrative mobile market. The retailer currently sells phones in-store and online, and has hosted concessions run by O2 since 2010. The first mobile phone shop will launch at the Letchworth store in two week’s time; the other will launch at the King’s Lynn store at the end of next month.
Interestingly, this comes just a month after former Carphone Warehouse director Anthony Hemmerdinger joined Sainsbury’s as business development director.
Whether Sainsbury will launch its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator is unknown. The supermarket was reported to have been in talks with Everything Everywhere last year, but no deal has been unveiled.
Sainsbury's rival Tesco entered the mobile phones market in 2008, and claims to be the biggest Mobile Virtual Network Operator in the UK with more than one million pay monthly customers.