144 years of history

Original Sainsburys store

144 years of history

Sainsbury's was founded in 1869 by John James Sainsbury and his wife Mary Ann Sainsbury in London and has grown to become one of the UK’s largest retailers. We’ll be updating this page regularly with highlights from our history.

2000
1950
1900
1999

1999

Began our partnership with Comic Relief – engaging customers in one the UK’s most successful campaigns

1996

1996

Began our recycling partnership with Oxfam – from November 2011 to October 2012 collected over 9 million items of clothing

1996

1996

One of the first retailers to sell Fairtrade products – 16 years later we are now the world’s biggest retailer of Fairtrade products

1994

1994

Founding partner of FareShare community food donation programme

1991

1991

To encourage customers to reuse carrier bags, we launched our Penny Back scheme for charity

1989

1989

Introduced a range of environmental friendly cleaning products under our own Greencare brand

1989

1989

We introduced the first ever carrier bags made from recycled material

1986

1986

First supermarket to offer organic – today our SO Organic brand offers over 250 products

1975

1975

Our first Savacentres opened, expanding our range to include non-food products

1974

1974

Colleagues first offered a stake in the company through a Savings Related Share Options Scheme

1970s

1970s

We introduced the first bakeries, fresh fish counters, petrol stations and coffee shops into our stores

1969

1969

Our own brand lines accounted for 50% of our turnover

1961

1961

We became the first food retailer to computerise distribution

1950s

1950s

Our first self-service stores opened, years before our competitors

1946

1946

The first issue of our colleague magazine, The Journal, arrived instore

1944

1944

We halved labels on our cans, to save paper and help the war effort

1916

1916

We set up our training school in Blackfriars, ensuring our colleagues were the best trained

1914

1914

We started to recruit women to help with colleague shortages during the First World War