Sainsbury’s to replace Co-op in Northcote Road

4 mins read
Co-op supermarket in Northcote Road - Credit: CJI

Co-op is leaving Northcote Road in March but local shoppers won’t loose a supermarket as Sainsbury’s will take over.

The new store will be a Sainsbury’s Local, rather than the type of large-scale supermarkets that you can find in Clapham Common or Wandsworth Town. However, it will be towards the upper end of that range, at around 5,500 sq ft (the maximum for a Sainsbury’s Local being around 6,000 sq ft).

The store will mainly focus on food and convenience products (including ready-made meals), with a selection of household products on the shelves. It will also offer a click and collect service to enable customers to order from Argos, Habitat, and Tu brands for collection in-store.

All the current Co-op staff should be maintained and will operate in the new store, switching their uniforms from blue to orange. While the store is closed for refurbishment during spring, they will undergo training to help them transition to Sainsbury’s and learn about how the business works. As opening day approaches, they will also be involved in preparing the new Sainsbury’s store for customers.

The new store is planning to open this summer and operates from 7am-11pm every day.

Sainsbury’s was previously invited to bid on the site and was selected to take over the premises. Although Co-op’s reason for leaving is unknown, it may be due to an increasingly austere appearance in comparison to its competitors in the area. The need for a comprehensive refurbishment became evident, possibly driving the decision to move.

Inside Co-op Northcote Road – Credit: CJI

That will certainly be achieved by Sainsbury’s, which is planning to make significant changes in-store to convert it into a brand new Sainsbury’s, featuring their very latest format, look, and feel for customers.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said:

“We’re passionate about Sainsbury’s delicious food and brilliant customer service and we want to make it easier for customers to access it wherever we can. We’re delighted to be bringing a new Sainsbury’s store to Northcote Road, which will build on the success of our existing stores in and around Clapham – we hope our investment will benefit the local community for years to come.”

The takeover offers some attractive opportunities for Sainsbury’s, which does not have any major stores in the area. Currently, there is only a small Sainsbury’s Local at the station, and Clapham Junction (and another one in St John’s Hill of a similar size) seems to attract all the different leading supermarkets in London.

Sainsbury’s Local at Clapham Junction Station – Credit: CJI

In the close vicinity of the Northcote supermarket, you have the chic Mark & Spencer in St John’s Road, which received much more than a make-over in 2019.

M&S supermarket in St Johns Road – Credit: CJI

M&S is trading successfully with Simply Food outlets, offering a small selection of food-to-go, premium brands, and an attention to presentation and customer experience with in-store farm, wine tasting dispenser, and coffee machines.

Inside M&S Ct Johns Road – Credit: CJI

M&S seem to have found a position where they don’t directly compete with Waitrose, the other large supermarket nearly on the opposite side of the road. Waitrose took over from Woolworths, which closed down at the edge of the financial crisis in 2008, after 94 years in the site. Both Marks & Spencer and Woolworths opened in St Johns Road in 1914.

Waitrose has been a successful store for the last 15 years and is now firmly established in Clapham Junction. We heard that they were interested in expanding, but they were currently limited with Superdrug still operating next door (Woolworths and Superdrug were merged in 1987, and then de-merged in 2001 – which explains why the two shops have been sharing the same building).

Waitrose in St Johns Road – Credit: Google Streetview

Sainsbury will certainly position themselves as a more direct competitor of Waitrose than M&S has been.

Then there is the huge Asda in Lavender Hill (see our story) that is trading very successfully. It must be noted that Asda acquired 132 sites from Co-op last year, but mainly small units linked to petrol stations. They are being re-branded as Asda Express, and one is located on Wandsworth Road near Clapham.

New Lidl in Wandsworth town and extension planned for Clapham Junction

There is also the very popular Lidl just behind in Falcon Lane (one of the best performing store in the UK, according to what Lidl told CJI a few years ago!).

Lidl in Falcon Lane

Lidl has had project for refurbishment and extension in Clapham Junction for years. At some point, they were even considering a brand new store with underneath car-park and frontage on Falcon Road, but they did not pursue it, partly due to cost but also because they could not find an alternative location to operate in the area in the meantime.

In 2021 they submitted a more modest proposal (with a part extension of the roof and changes in the car park, with new electric charging points). Although they later decided to withdraw their application (2021/0859), another similar application was submitted the year after and then approved by the Council in June 2022 (2022/0497).

Plans approved for Lidl extension in Falcon Lane – Credit: Architect documents

Additional details (on biodiverse roof, photovoltaic panels) that they submitted in 2023 seem to indicate that they still intend to pursue with their extension, although there is no sign of construction on site. It is likely that they are currently focusing their funding on the Southside store that could lighten the pressure from the Clapham Junction site.

However, they have just announced that they are opening a new store in Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth, with a 19,031 sq ft unit neighbouring Boots (as they do in Clapham Junction). Supermarkets are providers of a lot of employment, and they said it will create around 40 full-time jobs. The Southside store should open by summer, after the refurbishment is completed.

It will be interesting to see how the new Sainsbury competes with Waitrose as both stores have a similar area, and they tend to address an identical clientele. However, as it will be replacing an existing supermarket, there should not be drastic changes in shopping habits in the area. It is definitely another display of confidence in the Clapham Junction area.

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.


  1. This cinema was on the site of the store in 1951. I was told some years ago that the projection room is still intact to some extent. If so should be photographed for historical reasons when refurbishment is carried out.
    I would be happy to do the photographs free of charge.
    This is a 1951 picture of the original cinema.

  2. Wow great information!
    So to summarise:
    1880: Assembly Hall: Bollingbroke Hall
    1907: Theatre: Bio-Pictureland Theatre
    1910: Theatre: Bio-Picture Palace
    1917: Theatre: Bollingbroke Picture Hall.
    1930: Cinema: Globe Cinema
    1951: Cinema: Century Cinema
    1964: Supermarket: Tesco then KwikSave supermarket
    2009: Supermarket: Somerfield supermarket
    2013: Supermarket: Co-Operative supermarket
    2024: Supermarket: Sainsbury’s

  3. Really informative, well-researched article – thanks so much for everything you do on this site. Re the Northcote Road site, I remember the supermarket trading as Victor Value in the late 80s, before it became a KwikSave.

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