Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has launched a rebranding programme, with a new slogan and an advertising campaign to start later today (Monday).

The changes are the most significant in the company’s 136-year history and are key to the company’s target to grow sales by £2.5bn (US$4.5bn) by March 2008, the company said.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver remains a key figure in the new campaign which launches the company’s new strap line “Try Something New Today”. This was developed after research showed that customers wanted supermarkets to help them with simple but effective recipe ideas, Sainsbury said.

“Try Something New Today” will spread through all areas of the company’s operation and is being complemented by intensive programmes covering areas such as colleague communication, leadership training and ways of working for non-store based colleagues.

“We have spent the last year making improvements to the basics of our operation,” said Sainsbury’s chief executive, Justin King. “We still have a lot to do behind the scenes but customers are now enjoying a much-improved experience in our stores.”

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Sainsbury’s has reported like-for-like growth in its last two quarters – the first positive consecutive growth in two years. “Now is the time to ask people to come into our stores and try some of the many new and improved products we have introduced in recent months, better customer service and availability and a much more competitive pricing position. The values Sainsbury’s first advertised in the early 1900s, Quality and Value, are being presented to customers in a more modern and meaningful way. It’s what customers still want and expect from Sainsbury’s” said Justin King.

“The new advertising campaign is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The announcement marks a change in how we will serve our customers and the start of a company-wide training programme equipping every colleague to improve the customer experience in store. Changing how we run our business will mean we can continue to improve our service to customers and sustain the early improvements we have already made. Although we have made a lot of progress, significant cultural change is required, particularly at our Holborn office, to deliver our recovery plan and ensure that our stores are at the heart of everything we do because that is where we serve our customers.”

“As part of this change over 1,000 managers from stores and central teams, including the Board, are all going through a two-day training course to change the way we lead the business,” he said. “Every store colleague will also receive customer service training by the end of October. We believe this is the biggest commitment a Sainsbury’s Board has made to align every colleague behind a single aim – in our case to make Sainsbury’s great again.”

The ideas and tips promoted by Jamie Oliver in the company’s adverts over the coming weeks are being sampled by all 153,000 colleagues so they can experience them first hand and in turn share their knowledge and ideas with customers. All main supermarkets will also be offering customer sampling of new products and ideas assisted by Sainsbury’s team of food advisors.

The new strap line will be brought to life throughout the company featuring on everything from advertising material, and in store displays to till receipts and delivery lorries. Store colleagues are working overnight to update the look and feel of Sainsbury’s stores and the website will also be relaunched overnight.