Sainsbury’s new boss promises to listen more to customers

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Sainsbury’s new chief executive started his first day in the job on Monday vowing to listen more to customers and improve the experience for shoppers.

Simon Roberts, who replaced former chief Mike Coupe, has also bolstered the supermarket and Argos owner’s operating board, promoting the group’s marketing head and increasing responsibilities for its digital director.

In a message to staff, he said: “Starting today, I will be spending more time with customers and listening to their feedback.

Sainsbury’s remains open during the coronavirus crisis with strict social distancing in place (Ben Birchall / PA)

Chief marketing officer Mark Given will also join the grocer’s operating board and Clo Moriarty, previously chief digital director, becomes retail and digital director.

It means the supermarket has a marketing chief on the operating board for the first time since current Lovehoney chief executive Sarah Warby quit the grocer in 2017.

With the coronavirus crisis upending the retail sector, bosses are increasingly looking at ways to ensure online shopping can be more seamlessly linked out with bricks and mortar stores.

The latest Kantar supermarket figures showed online grocery sales hit record levels and now account for around 13% of the market – a near doubling in a year.

Mr Roberts added: “Bringing together our retail and digital teams under Clo’s leadership will create a business that shows up in the same way for customers wherever they shop with us.

“Mark’s appointment to the operating board will ensure that we really understand how customers are feeling, what they’re thinking and how this affects the way they shop.”

The new boss was unveiled as Mr Coupe’s replacement in January, having previously worked as the chain’s retail and operations director, following a 13-year career with pharmacy giant Boots.

Mr Coupe’s tenure is expected to be seen mainly for attempting a series of acquisitions including buying Argos and Habitat, and the failed merger with Asda which was blocked by competition officials.

Mr Roberts will have a base salary of £875,000 – a 9% cut on Mr Coupe’s £962,000 salary – with pension contributions of 7.5% from the business. Mr Coupe’s contributions were 30%.

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