The development follows Sainsbury’s £1.4bn acquisition of Habitat’s parent company Home Retail Group in September of this year.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe, said: “This is the start of an exciting new phase for us and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to open the first mini-Habitat so quickly in our new flagship store at Nine Elms”.
Approximately 600 products are available in the concession, including Habitat branded furniture, lighting, homewares and soft furnishings. Shoppers can also place in-store orders from Habitat’s full 4,500 online product portfolio, using integrated digital screens and iPads.
It is hoped that the Habitat concessions, which will be between 1,400 and 2,000 sq ft, will improve online shopper confidence, having provided consumers with greater opportunities to touch and feel products in familar locations before ordering.
The iconic Habitat brand, including its transactional website and three London stores, was bought by Home Retail Group – since renamed Sainsbury’s Argos – in 2011. The five concessions within Sainsbury’s, alongside the existing Habitat stores, will be geared towards driving multichannel growth and overall brand awareness.
Habitat managing director Clare Askem said: “The opportunity to create a new network of local stores with a new national partner that will support our multichannel business strategy is a really exciting prospect.”
As it seeks to make better use of excess store space, Sainsbury’s also intends to roll out more Argos digital concessions at 20 of its bigger stores by Christmas 2016, making a total of more than 30 Argos concessions within the supermarket giant.