01 July 1999

IN A BID TO WIN BACK shoppers lost to rival supermarkets, J Sainsbury is giving away a vari-ety of groceries to customers visiting its stores during the summer. The promotion, claimed to be the biggest giveaway in UK retail history, will take place at different times in each of the chain’s 415 stores, with 3 mil-lion pieces of fruit, 250,000 loaves of bread, 250,000 packs of biscuits and 10,000 bottles of wine given away to customers crossing the threshold. In addition, giant gazebos in JS car parks will serve freshly-baked pizza, ice cream and Coca-Cola. Staff will supervise the giveaway to prevent people ‘gorging themselves’, as a Sainsbury spoke diplomatically put it. ‘We hope the giveaway will get people to come in and try differ-ent products at Sainsbury’s. It’s just a bit of fun’, he added. A curmudgeonly City retail analyst declined to share in the jollity: ‘It seems a slightly desperate marketing stunt to me. If it works, obviously it will be worth it. If it doesn’t, then it will eat into the supermarket’s profits even more.’