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Mike Coupe defends £1.4 billion Argos aquisition

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Speaking at the IGD debate earlier this morning, Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe confidently refuted claims that the acquisition of Home Retail Group was an awkward match with the grocery giant.

Following a speech about Sainsbury’s “extremely successful” grocery business and the retailer’s recent successful forays into non-food, which now accounts for a significant chunk of its sales, Coupe was interviewed by Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Guru-Murthy pressed Coupe on some shopper criticisms that Argos and Sainsbury’s were “incompatible”, but the grocery boss retaliated confidently stating: “I’ve heard this over and over again, the idea that somehow a Sainsbury’s shopper sees an Argos shopper, they cross the road and walk around them.

“Around about two thirds of the UK population shop in a Sainsbury’s shop in a year, around about two thirds of the population shop in an Argos shop in a year and about 40% shop in both.”

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Coupe told the audience at this year’s IGD Big Debate that he wanted Sainsbury’s to work with a company with a flexible supply chain, and that the acquiring Argos was how that could be achieved.

The retailer group now employs nearly 200,000 staff and has taken on a department store ethos, focusing on non-food, finance and fashion alongside its grocery sector.

“I have no idea how customers’ shopping habits will change over the next period of time, but what I do know is that, if we have a flexible supply chain, a fast supply chain, an efficient supply chain and multiple points of presence, then we are in a position to compete with whatever happens in the market place,” continued Coupe.

The retail boss with over 30 years of industry experience went on to predict that the future of retail will be automatic shopping, where the retailer will deliver food based on premtive customer data without them even having to order it.

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Published on Tuesday 18 October by Ben Stevens

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