Sainsbury’s shuts meat and fish counters in UK lockdown after a ‘decline in meat sales’

Read Time:   |  9th November 2020

All meat and fish counters are being shut in Sainsbury's stores amid the UK lockdown following declining meat sales.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has decided to shut meat and fish counters across its 600+ UK stores amid the second national lockdown.

This news comes after the retailer admitted last year that they had seen a ‘decline in meat sales’ across the industry. Sainsbury’s then decided to place vegan meat-alternatives next to traditional meat aisles across stores which caused some controversy.

‘Meat is on the decline’

James Hamilton, Meat-Free and Ready Meals Buyer at Sainsbury’s explained: “We were looking at as a business the challenge we face in the future, if we sell less and less meat what do you backfill it with?

“So we are supplementing our ranges with alternative proteins and plant-based ranges. We are interested to see what happened. The general market dynamic is that meat is on the decline.

“This is a way of giving people more choice and new ideas. People will even if they didn’t buy it be thinking – is there a different way of doing things. We are appealing to different people than those who shop in our plant-based section.”

The decision to close the counters will result in 3,500 job losses alone, with the retailer also planning to shut 120 Argos stores very soon.

‘Alternative roles’

Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s issued a statement on the closures saying: “We are talking to colleagues today about where the changes we are announcing in Argos standalone stores and food counters impact their roles.

“We will work really hard to find alternative roles for as many of these colleagues as possible and we expect to be able to offer alternative roles for the majority of impacted colleagues.

“Right here and now, I and all the team are focused on supporting and delivering for our customers in the days and weeks ahead.”

While the retailer hasn’t said they expect the move to result in selling less meat, with animal products on the decline we hope these closures will push consumers to choose vegan alternatives.

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