Eye-catching recruits and full bank buyout fast-tracks Sainsbury's push for supremacy

The supermarket has beefed up its management team with two high-profile banking appointments, and confirmed it would buy the 50 per cent of Sainsbury's Bank it does not already own

Sainsbury's is gearing up for a major assault on the banking sector with ambitious plans to take on HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and the rest of the financial high street.

The supermarket has beefed up its management team with two high-profile banking appointments, and confirmed it would buy the 50 per cent of Sainsbury's Bank it does not already own from Lloyds Banking Group for £248m. At the moment, Sainsbury's sells loans and insurance to 1.4 million customers, but it is poised to copy Tesco's plans to launch current accounts once new rules come in making it easier for customers to switch banks later this year.

Sainsbury's has hired two top bankers to aid the attack: Lady Susan Rice of Lloyds, who joins as a non-executive on the board, and Roger Davis, former chief executive of Barclays' UK bank, who will become non-executive chairman of the supermarket bank. Peter Griffiths, the bank's chief executive, will remain in charge of the day-to-day operation.

The takeover of the joint venture should fast-track the grocer's push into financial services, and may improve the company's ability to cross-sell financial products such as insurance, credit cards and personal loans to its supermarket customers.

Lloyds will keep the liability for any possible claims for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance incurred before the deal – a relief to shareholders. Sainsbury's Bank reported a profit of £59m last year.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King, dismissed talk that he was looking for a new job as he unveiled another market-beating set of results in what he claimed was the toughest environment for years.

With gossip again swirling that he will soon move on after nine years at the helm, Mr King insisted he will still be in place in a year's time. He said: "I don't see myself at Sainsbury's when I am 65. But I'm 51. I've got time left."

Sainsbury's reported a 6 per cent rise in annual profit to £756m – ahead of City expectations. Sales are up 4.6 per cent to £25.6m with the dividend 3.7 per cent higher at 16.7p. The company's market share is at 16.8 per cent, the highest for a decade. "The context is that this was probably the toughest year in the last 20," said Mr King, who was paid £3m last year. "We are the only one of the big five to have grown market share."

Mr King says customers remain cautious: "They've been in the same place for the last three years. There was a step change after Christmas 2010. We saw smaller weekly shops and that change has stuck. Wages are growing slower than prices. That's reality."

Phil Dorrell of the retail consultant Retail Remedy said: "Sainsbury's is close to its customers, is continually improving its stores and, in Justin King, has a chief executive who puts a spring in the step of staff and shareholders alike. Above all, Sainsbury's has a single-minded focus on the UK business. It hasn't been dazzled by the need for global recognition."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Property Underwriter

£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week