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Argos has opened the first of its digital stores located in some of Sainsbury’s larger supermarkets.
Two mini-stores have opened in Sainsbury’s in North Cheam in Surrey and Nantwich in Cheshire.
These smaller Argos stores, which are around 1,000 sq ft, will have some of its most popular products available, as well as the ability to pre-order more than 20,000 products for pick-up later that day, or later in the week depending on the time of ordering.
Another eight stores will be opening in other locations in the summer of 2015 and will range in size up to 5,000 sq ft. These stores will open in west Hove, Crayford, Calcot, Bognor Regis, Durham, Rustington, Drumchapel and Keighley.
Argos director of retail and customer operations Steve Carson said: “Working with Sainsbury’s will help us to bring the convenience of the Argos offer to more customers. This is the first time we have had stores in these specific locations.”
The kiosks use in-store tablets to allow customers to browse products using a similar interface to the brand’s online store to give a consistent experience and clarity around product availability.
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Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Roger Burnley emphasised how the partnership is focused on ensuring the best possible availability of products and improved customer experience.
“This partnership with Argos is one of a series of steps we are taking to ensure we continue to offer our customers a wide range of products at great value and to make their shopping more convenient,” he said.
Plans for the digital Argos stores have been in motion since January 2015, in accordance with the firm's "hub-and-spoke" distribution model.
Meanwhie, Argos’s parent company Home Retail Group has seen a 15% increase in operating profit since it began deploying recent digital initiatives. These have helped the firm to cater to its ever growing mobile and online audience, with around half of its total sales beginning online.
But Sainsbury’s has not seen the same improvements, as its restructuring effort to create more digital roles and innovations within the business and reduce unused space saw the firm report a pre-tax loss of £72m for its financial year ending 14 March 2015.