Sainsbury’s is experimenting with futuristic new “SmartShop” technology, which will allow shoppers to scan their shopping lists at home, be shown a map of their items on their smartphone – and then pay by mobile app, meaning they don’t have to queue at the end of their shop.

The news comes in the same week data from Kantar Worldpanel showed sales at German discounters Aldi and Lidl grew more than 17 per cent in the past three months. During the same period, sales at Sainsbury’s grew 1.1 per cent, while growth at the rest of the “big four” supermarkets was negative – in other words shrunk.

The technology was unveiled as part of a new, experimental store format the supermarket is rolling out across six of its stores.  As part of the format, the supermarket said it plans to put more of a focus on homewares and clothing, increasing the space given to non-food items by 30 per cent, “for people who want to spend more time browsing”.

It will also include larger self-checkouts, for trolley-users who want to scan their own items. Stores will be reshuffled, so fresh products are all in one place, while a “Food to Go” area will be put closer to the checkouts. Meanwhile, it said it’s also trying out a new convenience store format, with a 1,000 sq ft store “designed to meet the needs of people working in the area who want to buy food for breakfast, lunchtime or get something on the way home for dinner”.

Mike Coupe, the supermarket’s chief executive, said the aim was to make supermarkets “more convenient” for those doing a smaller shop.

“This trial is about seeing how far we can go in catering for every shopping mission, whether someone wants to pop in quickly to buy a sandwich for lunch, or whether they have more time and want inspiration for the home, or advice on tech and gadgets.”

The trial will be rolled out at its Alperton, Devizes, Emersons Green, Harpenden, Morecambe and Tamworth stores, with different elements tried out in each store.

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