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Sainsbury’s creates digital lab in latest effort to keep up with consumers

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

April 1, 2015 | 3 min read

Sainsbury’s has revealed it will create over 480 speciality digital roles as it opens up a new lab and tech Hub to test technology and put it ahead of rivals.

The ‘Digital Lab’ at its London headquarters will house 180 developers, digital designers, product owners, engineers and testers who will test new ways of shopping.

Meanwhile, a ‘Technology Hub’ in Coventry will be dedicated to improving Sainsbury’s infrastructure and core business systems, including building better platforms for online shopping and supply chains. This will see the creation of a 300 specialist roles.

The investment comes as part of the supermarket's ongoing efforts to save £500m over three years that have seen it review central costs and structures. These savings are being ploughed back into areas such as digital and technology in order to help the retailer ready itself for the future.

Director of digital and technology, Jon Rudoe, said this put Sainsbury’s “on the map” to attract digital talent.

“Retail is a vibrant sector for innovation and this team is key to keeping our fast-paced business running. We’re structuring and equipping entrepreneurial teams to improve the digital experience and develop products that will help make our customers’ lives easier,” Rudoe added.

"The shape of our business is changing and digital and technology is a core part of our future growth,” said Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe. “Ultimately these changes are good news for customers – the Technology Hub in Coventry will keep our systems running smoothly and experts in our Digital Lab in London will be developing new ways of digital shopping to give customers the best access to our products, services and offers."

The retailer has already been experimenting with how technology can improve the business.

Earlier this year, it revealed that is was looking to curb its wasteful use of paper labels and the time it takes staff to update prices by trialling e-ink pricing devices that automatically update themselves.

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