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Rudoe to Join Sainsbury Operating Board in Coupe’s Digital Push

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- J Sainsbury Plc promoted online director Jon Rudoe to its operating board, as incoming Chief Executive Officer Mike Coupe sharpens the retailer’s Internet focus to fend off discounters and upscale competition.

Rudoe, 35, is a former executive at Internet-only grocer Ocado Group Plc, and has been appointed digital and technology director, a new role, “in a move that recognizes the rapidly growing importance of online and digital sales channels to the business,” the London-based retailer said in a statement today.

The U.K.’s third largest retailer has annualized online sales of 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion), less than half that of market leader Tesco Plc’s 2.5 billion pounds in British online revenue. After 36 quarters of growth, Coupe, who will succeed Justin King in July, is faced with slowing sales expansion as customers defect to discounters, the Internet and high-end rival Waitrose Ltd., in an increasingly polarized British market.

Separately, Sainsbury also announced that property director Neil Sachdev is stepping down after seven years with the business.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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