Alan Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury


Alan Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury

Alan John Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury (13 August 1902 – 21 October 1998) was a business executive and a leading member of the Sainsbury family.

Early and private life

His grandfather, John James Sainsbury, established a grocer's at 173 Drury Lane in 1869 which became the British supermarket chain Sainsbury's. He was created a life peer in 1962, and took the title Baron Sainsbury, of Drury Lane in the Borough of Holborn

He and his wife Doreen with whom he married in 1925 had three sons:
* John; later The Rt. Hon. The Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover
* Simon; later The Hon. Simon Sainsbury
* Timothy; later The Rt. Hon. Sir Timothy Sainsbury

He later re-married in 1944 and had a daughter Paulette.

Business career

Alan Sainsbury became joint managing director of Sainsbury's with his brother Robert Sainsbury in 1938 after his father, John Benjamin Sainsbury (the eldest son of Sainsbury's founder John James Sainsbury), had a minor heart attack.

Alan Sainsbury was instrumental in bringing the self-service supermarket to Britain and shaping many of the conditions by which we shop for food today. On a trip to America he saw the experience of self-service supermarkets, and the Croydon branch of Sainsbury's was converted to self-service in 1950. On handing out wire baskets on opening day, one customer was so annoyed, she threw a basket in Alan Sainsbury's face, and one member of staff refused to be an assistant in a self-service supermarket.

In 1956, he became Chairman after his father, John Benjamin Sainsbury's death.

Alan Sainsbury also pioneered fresh and frozen foods, and increased Sainsbury's own label range.

In 1962 he was created a life peer as Lord Sainsbury. When his son, John Davan Sainsbury, became a peer in 1989, he took the title Baron Sainsbury of Drury Lane, after Sainsbury's first shop, and John Davan Sainsbury took the title of Baron Sainsbury of Preston Candover, after the place where he lives.

He retired as Chairman in 1967 to be replaced by his brother Robert, and became Life President. On Sir Robert's retirement in 1969, at which point his son John Davan Sainsbury became Chairman, Robert was appointed Joint Life President of the retailer.

Their sons John and David both chaired the family firm and were later awarded life peerages.


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