J Sainsbury: Best Corporate Governance United Kingdom 2016

With a market share of almost 17% of the United Kingdom’s supermarket sector, Sainsbury’s is one of Britain’s leading grocery retailers. The supermarket pillar is, however, only one of the four mainstays of J Sainsbury plc. The group also comprises Sainsbury’s Convenience Stores, Sainsbury’s Groceries Online and Sainsbury’s Bank, started in 1997 as a joint venture with Bank of Scotland.

While the descendants of John James – who in 1869 opened the grocery shop on Drury Lane in London that would eventually turn into a veritable retail empire – still maintain a sizeable stake in the business, the company went public in 1973 and now has the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) as its single largest shareholder with a 26% participation in the company.

Like few others in its sector, J Sainsbury has expertly navigated the ups and downs of its home market by rolling out novel retail concepts while keeping the tried-and-true in place. Sainsbury is no newcomer to innovation: the firm was one of the first to embrace then then-revolutionary concept of self-service shopping. In fact, its long-standing “quality foods at fair prices” has remained central to the Sainsbury brand throughout the company’s existence – delivered in different, yet recognisable ways, as consumer tastes and demands changed.

The CFI.co judging panel is happy to present J Sainsbury with the 2016 Best Corporate Governance United Kingdom Award.