Does Fashion Have a Future in the Grocery Aisle?

For generations, supermarkets have played a fundamental role in our daily routines, serving as a convenient destination to find all our grocery and household needs in one place.  

These retail juggernauts have consistently transformed themselves to align with shifting consumer tastes and market dynamics. One notable trend in recent years is their expansion into nontraditional categories such as beauty and, more recently, fashion — the U.K.’s Sainsbury chain of grocery stores will be the latest to tap into the trend, but more on that in a moment.

The first foray for grocers was beauty and it has grown significantly to offer a wide range of skincare, cosmetics, haircare and personal grooming products. These sections often feature well-known brands alongside the grocer’s private-label products, providing consumers with both choice and affordability. 

The reason for the foray into beauty? The beauty sector generates more than $100 billion in global revenue. 

The Beauty Benefits to Grocers  

“The health and beauty section delivers on The Giant Company’s customer promises — to simplify shopping, inspire fresh ideas, and create healthier communities,” said Ted Williams, director of nonfoods omnichannel merchandising for The Giant Company, the Carlisle, Pa.-based operator of Ahold Delhaize USA’s Giant/Martin’s supermarkets. “It provides convenience and a one-stop shopping experience that meets the needs of today’s busy families.” 

Williams also pointed out in the Supermarket News that in light of supply chain challenges and economic pressures, numerous brands are still grappling with difficulties. This is where the company’s own brands — Giant Brand, Nature’s Promise, Taste of Inspirations, CareOne, Always My Baby, Etos, Companion and Smart Living — offer cost-effective alternatives to customers when brand availability fluctuates. 

Expanding Beyond Beauty 

With beauty under its belt, supermarkets have set their sights on the apparel industry, an industry that is expected to exceed $1.7 trillion in 2023.  

Private-label fashion lines are becoming increasingly popular, allowing supermarkets to offer shoppers unique and budget-friendly clothing options. This move appeals to price-conscious consumers who appreciate value without compromising on style. 

Moreover, supermarkets, typically located in accessible areas with ample parking, have a distinct advantage in the fashion sector. Shoppers can easily combine their grocery shopping with browsing for clothing and accessories. 

The Latest Grocer Foray into Fashion 

Sainsbury’s is launching fashion destination spaces in nine of its stores, featuring third-party brand partners alongside its Tu clothing line. 

“We’ve been harnessing the strength of our much-loved own brand range, Tu clothing, to successfully introduce fashion brands online over the last year. Building on the success we’ve seen at, we’re delighted to launch our new fashion destination hubs to offer customers a curation of exciting brands when they shop with us in store,” said Christine Kasoulis, Sainsbury’s clothing director, in a statement. 

The fashion hubs will showcase seven womenswear brands from September, including Sosandar, Finery, Simply Be, Little Mistress by Vogue Williams, Thought, Burgs, and Brakeburn. 

The aim is to offer customers more options and initiate the supermarket’s rapid expansion of its branded offerings over the next five years.  

Sainsbury’s notes that their goal is to establish a minimum of 50 fashion destination hubs as part of their strategy to become a prominent destination for inclusive family fashion, both in physical stores and online, across the U.K. 

Sainsbury’s said it will collaborate closely with third-party brands to sell “exclusive product collections and enhance the overall clothing selection.” This partnership will focus on specialized product categories like curve, maternity, lingerie and tailoring. 

Increasing the range of fashion brands will address the rising demand noted by Tu and enhance the array of styles and pricing options to complement its popular in-house brand. Sainsbury’s further explained that this year, almost 40% of branded sales on have come from its collection of contemporary clothing brands, encompassing over 30 brand partnerships. 

The first nine Sainsbury’s stores to launch ‘fashion destination hubs’ between Sept. 24 and Oct. 6 will include Stanway in Colchester, Crayford in Dartford, Bybrook in Ashford, Longwater in Norwich, Calcot in Reading, Osmaston Park in Derby, Selly Oak in Birmingham, Sydenham in southeast London, and London Colney in St Albans. 

These stores were selected due to their high customer traffic and will feature between four and seven brands.