Sainsbury's to stock in-store ads

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J Sainsbury revealed its latest strategy to ratchet up in-store sales yesterday, unveiling plans to roll out store-advertising screens designed to influence shoppers at the point of sale.

The new technology, supplied by Retec Technologies, has been piloted at eight stores across the UK over the past nine months, with impressive results.

Sales in the entertainment department of one Sainsbury store leapt 26 per cent on the back of the advertising screens.

Shares in Elite Technologies, an investment company which owns an 80 per cent stake in Retec, jumped by about a third yesterday on news that Retec's trial had proved a success. The Sainsbury contract, which will see Retec's technology rolled out across at least 100 stores by October, is worth about £5m to Retec over the next three years.

At least three plasma screens and four touch screens will be rolled out in each store. The smaller, touch screens will give customers the chance to try out CDs and DVDs, while the bigger screens will advertise promotions and recipe ideas around the stores.

Nick Ashley, of the media company Mindshare, said Sainsbury's was the latest in a string of retailers to use point-of-sale technology. However, he warned that previous attempts had not always been successful.

He said: "Sainsbury's is doing this because Tesco began putting screens in stores a couple of years ago. The idea was that if customers were walking down the booze aisle, they'd see a 10-second ad for Pimm's and perhaps buy some. But it didn't turn out to be that successful. But you can't ignore this technology. About 70 per cent of purchase decisions are made in store, so the closer to the point of sale you can reach a customer, the more influence you're likely to have."