Richard Jones, architect of Sainsbury's non-food strategy, is set to head to rival supermarket

Tesco snaps up Sainsbury’s non-food supremo

The key-architect of Sainsbury’s non-food expansion plans has suddenly quit the UK’s third largest supermarket to take a – as of yet, named – top job at rival Tesco.

Director of general merchandise and global sourcing at Sainsbury’s Richard Jones, handed in his notice on Friday according to The Times. No leaving date has been set but it is understood he is on a 12 month contract.

His departure comes after a period of rapid headhunting from rivals, such as the hiring of Claire Sollis from Next, back in March, as reported by PC Retail.

Sainsbury’s, which has recently said that it wants to build sales by £3.5 billion over the coming three years – a third of which is expected to come from expansion of non-food sales – is currently in the middle of a major expansion, spearheaded by Jones.

A spokeswoman from Sainsbury’s tried to play down the significance of his move, telling The Times: "This happens from time to time and we are in an industry where people tend to move around.

"Our strategy for non-food is in place and we are well down the track in rolling out these plans. We have a great non-food team in place with key hires from major competitors in recent months."

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