Queen pops into Sainsbury’s to mark store's 150th birthday

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

UK supermarket brand Sainsbury’s, this week hosted The Queen at a unique pop up experience in Covent Garden to mark its 150th birthday celebrations. 

Queen Elizabeth II was taken on a journey through time - a century and a half - of British shopping history and met Sainsbury’s colleagues who have served their local communities over the years.

The Queen attended a recreation of one of Sainsbury’s original stores from the supermarket’s beginnings on London’s Drury Lane, showcasing the sights, smells and tastes of some of the retailer’s rich heritage, including some of the original items sold in the late 1800s. 

The visit included Her Majesty being introduced to some of the modern innovations customers see and use today, including a self-checkout. 

Attended by a host of nominated Sainsbury’s colleagues from across the country, The Queen was guided through the space by Sainsbury’s Chairman, Martin Scicluna and Chief Executive, Mike Coupe together with Lord and Lady Sainsbury. 

Long serving staff

There to greet the Queen were colleagues who this year celebrate personal milestones including over 50 years of service, colleagues among the supermarket’s oldest and youngest, as well as those who have significantly contributed their local communities through volunteering, culminating the brand’s wider birthday celebrations this week. 

“Sainsbury’s is honoured to have served the British nation for the last century and a half”, said Mike Coupe, Chief Executive at Sainsbury’s. 

“We are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen visited our replica store to celebrate with our colleagues during our birthday week.”

Kathleen Gilluley, a Sainsbury’s colleague invited to celebrate her work in mental health, added: “It’s a privilege to be a part of Sainsbury’s birthday celebrations and an honour to meet The Queen. 

“I feel so proud to have been recognised in this way for my work championing mental health awareness amongst colleagues and in the community. It’s a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life.” 

Simply a long time: Sainsbury's also running TV ad celebrating its 150th year

Changing face of shopping

Jennifer Smith, who this year celebrates 50 years with Sainsbury’s, said: “It’s amazing to see how British shopping has changed over the decades. 

“I have worked in-store for Sainsbury’s for 50 years and I’ve made some wonderful memories during that time, but today has been extra special.”

Sainsbury’s has a long history of supporting the local community, from charity fundraising and events to donating to causes close to the hearts of its 185,000 colleagues. 

To mark its 150th celebrations, thousands of colleagues across the UK are participating in 150 days of community activities, which includes supporting causes as diverse as local youth groups, elderly care homes, sports teams, community gardens and even bunny sanctuaries, the retailer said.

The ‘Since 1869: the Sainsbury’s 150 Experience’ will be open to the public from 25th - 26th May, with walk in slots available.

Welcome to Prolific London

Get all the latest media, marketing, technology and creative news for the capital