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SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s

SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s

This article offers a detailed SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s. It examines the strengths and the weaknesses of Sainsbury’s. It also examines the opportunities and the threats facing the company. Sainsbury’s was founded over 150 years ago. It is headquartered in London, the UK.


Sainsbury’s is a household name in the UK. It prides itself on its commitment to sustainability, community, and diversity. However, with the rise of online retailers and discount stores, it is facing increasing competition and challenges in maintaining its market position.


Strengths of Sainsbury’s


Market share of Sainsbury’s in the UK

Sainsbury’s is one of the oldest supermarket chains in the UK. It is also the 2nd largest supermarket chain in the country with 14.8% market share (Kantar, 2023).


Brand recognition

One of Sainsbury’s biggest strengths is its brand recognition and reputation. The company has been in business for a long time and has established itself as a trusted and reliable retailer.


Number of stores

There are more than 1400 Sainsbury’s stores (600 supermarkets and 800 convenience stores) in the UK which employ more than 150,000 people. The company is also famous for the quality of its products.


Sainsbury’s diverse product offerings

Sainsbury’s has, over the years, moved from its core ranges (food and groceries) into areas such as clothing, finance, and energy. Its takeover of Argos has also increased diversity of its portfolio. Each Sainsbury’s store usually stocks around 30,000 product lines of which approximately 20% are ‘own-label’ ones (Sainsbury’s, 2023).


Honours and accolades

Sainsbury’s has received several awards over the years. For instance, it won ASC UK Retailer of the Year 2022. Likewise, it has won the Grocer 33 Availability Award and the Grocer 33 Customer Service Award a number of times in the last several years (Sainsbury’s, 2023).


Sainsbury’s commitment to sustainability

Another strength of Sainsbury’s is its commitment to sustainability. It has set ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint, eliminate waste, and source products responsibly. Its donation of 6.2 million meals through its Neighbourly partnership since 2021 is praiseworthy.


Sainsbury’s loyal customers

The last but not the least strength to discuss in this SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s is customer loyalty.  Clearly, Sainsbury’s has a loyal customer base, with many customers choosing to shop at it due to the quality of its products and services. Its Nectar card is one of the best customer loyalty cards for saving money (O’Neill, 2023).


Weaknesses of Sainsbury’s


Pricing strategies

Many analysts argue that Sainsbury’s prices are higher than those offered for similar products by many of its competitors. This is a problem, particularly at a time of economic difficulties when many customers focus on saving money. However, in response to this criticism, others argue that quality comes with a high price.



Sainsbury’s image has been badly affected by a number of controversies such as price fixing, tax avoidance, and selling products past their use by date.


Over reliance on the UK market

The last weakness to discuss in this SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s is the over reliance on the UK market. Sainsbury’s has limited international presence, which leaves it vulnerable to economic and political changes in the UK.


It is worth mentioning that Sainsbury’s is closing all its 34 Argos stores in the Republic of Ireland by June 25, due to a lack of profitability (Faithful, 2023).


Opportunities for Sainsbury’s



There are many opportunities for Sainsbury’s for domestic and international expansion. It can further grow in the UK. Likewise, moving into more EU and emerging markets such as China, India, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and others is also worth exploring.


By entering new markets, Sainsbury’s can reduce its reliance on the UK market. This would also help it to mitigate the risks associated with Brexit and other political and economic uncertainties in the UK.


Sustainable products

Another opportunity for Sainsbury’s is the increasing demand for sustainable products. Though it has already made significant progress in this area, there is still room for growth. By continuing to expand its range of sustainable products and services, it can attract environmentally conscious customers and differentiate itself from competitors.


Threats to Sainsbury’s

The last element to address in the SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s is the threat/s facing the company. The key threats have been listed below:



Like all other supermarket chains in the UK, Sainsbury’s faces the same threat i.e. fierce competition. There are a number of big players in the UK grocery market e.g. Tesco, ASDA, Morrison’s, Lidl, Aldi etc.


Particularly, Aldi and Lidl are changing the rules of the game. These two discounters are providing customers with quality products at a low price.  This is certainly a great threat for Sainsbury’s. Online retailers, such as Amazon, also pose a threat to it, as they offer a convenient and low-cost alternative to traditional supermarkets.



Lawsuits and fines can also be very damaging. For instance, Sainsbury’s has been fined £1 million for a ‘booby trap’ which caused life-changing injuries to a shopper at one of its stores (Winchester, 2022).  It was also fined several times in the past.


Summary of SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s

In conclusion, Sainsbury’s has many strengths, including its brand reputation, commitment to sustainability, and loyal customer base. However, it also faces significant challenges, including intense competition, and high operating costs.


We hope the article on the SWOT analysis of Sainsbury’s has been useful. Please share the article link on social media to support our work. You may also like reading:


SWOT analysis of Tesco

Marketing mix of Sainsbury’s


Last update: 03 April 2023


Faithful, M. (2023) Argos To Shutter Irish Operations As Sainsbury’s Says Business Not Viable, available at: (accessed 03 April 2023)

Kantar (2023) Great Britain: Grocery Market Share, available at: (accessed 03 April 2023)

O’Neill, R. (2023) Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury’s Nectar and the other best customer loyalty cards for saving money in 2023, available at: (accessed 02 April 2023)

Sainsbury’s (2023) About, available at: (accessed 03 April 2023)

Winchester, L. (2022) Sainsbury’s fined £1million after ‘booby trap’ shattered disabled customer’s jaw, available at: (accessed 02 April 2023)

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Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.

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