The Property Division at Sainsbury’s is a hidden world, only those lucky enough to work here really understand the exciting and crucial role it plays in driving the business forward. You name it, we’re involved in it. Having had the privilege of being on the Property Graduate scheme for the last year, I wanted to give the outside world a glimpse of what we get up to.
My fellow graduates, Kathryn Eastwood and Romy Clay, have done a great job in explaining what the Property Graduate scheme entails and how the property process works, so I wanted to delve a bit deeper and provide some examples which bring things to life. Here are just a few of the highlights from the last year.
Building stores is probably the activity most commonly associated with Property – and we do plenty of that. But it’s not just about quantity; it’s also the quality of store we deliver - for our customers and for the environment. Back in November we launched our first ‘triple zero’ stores, these are stores which produce ZERO operational carbon, send ZERO waste to landfill and have ZERO impact on water usage in the catchment area. These stores are industry-leading achievement and are no mean feat, they represent a huge amount of work from the Engineering and Construction teams in Property.
It’s not all glamorous, though. We also work with rubbish, making sure we put all of our waste to positive use. As a big business, we use a lot of energy – but we’re working to become the UK’s Greenest Grocer – in fact, we’ve unplugged one of our stores from the National Grid, it now runs on rubbish. In Cannock we’ve constructed a 1.5km long electricity cable which takes the energy generated through anaerobic digestion of food waste and uses it to power the store. It’s great for the environment, putting our waste to positive use and reducing our carbon emissions – all part of our 2020 commitment to show respect for the environment.
Property has played a key role in helping Sainsbury’s reach over 24 million customers each week. In fact, only last month we opened our 650th convenience store, and there are now more Sainsbury’s Locals than Supermarkets in our Estate. An achievement which brings together the hard work of many teams in Property – from those identifying locations (Location Planning), finding sites (Acquisitions) through to those who make sure they’re built and opened on time (Construction and Delivery).
We’re also involved in developing new areas for the business. For example, this week we opened our first combined convenience store and outpatient pharmacy at Guy’s Hospital in London. We’re also taking an active role in Sainsbury’s joint venture with Dansk Supermarked, using our Property expertise to open 15 new Netto stores by the end of 2015. These projects are, quite literally, breaking new ground and Property is right at their heart.
One thing’s for sure, the last 12 months have been far from dull – there’s an endless number of exciting projects to get involved in. The Property Graduate scheme at Sainsbury’s is unique in the breadth of exposure it provides and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months will bring.