Sainsbury’s has announced the launch of fashion destination hubs in nine of its stores to grow its branded proposition at pace over the next five years and drive new customer acquisition.

Alongside its own brand Tu Clothing, there will be partners including Sosandar, Finery and Simply Be, which Sainsbury’s customers can also buy from online.

Working with these brands, Sainsbury’s will retail exclusive product ranges and support the expansion of the broader clothing offering, particularly across more specialist product areas such as curve, maternity, lingerie, and tailoring.

Analysis of Sainsbury’s fashion strategy

GlobalData analyst Pippa Stephens asserts that the fashion expansion will drive Sainsbury’s performance going forwards by appealing to a wider selection of customers who would not usually consider shopping its Tu collections.

The supermarket states that it is catering to the demand Tu is seeing for an increased selection of fashion brands, broader range of styles and price ranges to supplement its own brand range. Reportedly, almost 40% of branded sales at Tu this year have come from its contemporary clothing brand offer.

A potential challenge for the venture is seamlessly integrating the perceptions of more premium brands with Sainsbury’s own image.

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Stephens confirms that “All of the brands being included in these hubs have strong perceptions and higher price points than its own-brand line, giving Sainsbury’s opportunity to improve its fashion credentials.

“However, Sainsbury’s must ensure that it reflects the brands’ more premium positionings instore and on its website, or else it may end up devaluing them.”

The supermarket has also recently leveraged Habitat’s existing homewares proposition by opening concessions within its stores, setting a trend for other grocers. It will be looking to repeat this success for its new fashion hubs.