Fitch leads race for Sainsbury’s

SAINSBURY’S search for a design consultancy to revamp its branding may have come to an end with the revelation that the retailer is working with Fitch.

The supermarket chain has previously confirmed the existence of a shortlist of consultancies for a major rebranding project (DW 12 September) which would give it a new face for a fightback against rival and current market leader Tesco. A new store design is believed to form part of that overall project.

A Fitch spokeswoman confirms the consultancy is “working on some design ideas” for Sainsbury’s. She declines to comment on whether it has beaten other groups on the shortlist for the main rebranding project, or whether the work forms part of a separate job.

Fitch’s name has not previously been associated with the branding shortlist, and sources close to Sainsbury’s have expressed surprise that it may have won the hotly contested contract. Those pitching for the job had no knowledge of Fitch’s involvement.

Conran Design Group, 20/20 Design and Strategy Consultants and Nucleus Design are all believed to have been in the running for the rebranding project. None will comment on their own involvement.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman declined to comment on Fitch’s role.

A further increase in pressure on Sainsbury’s was avoided this week when a planned merger between Asda and Safeway was abandoned. If it had taken place Sainsbury’s would have found itself in third place among the major UK supermarket chains.

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