First day in the job: Simon Roberts begins his stint as Sainsbury's boss

The new chief executive of Sainsbury's Simon Roberts has begun leading the supermarket through the coronavirus crisis after officially taking over from Mike Coupe today.

Roberts, who worked as head of retail and operations at the supermarket and is also a former managing director of Boots in the UK, said he will listen more to customers and improve the experience for shoppers.

In his first day at work, he promoted chief digital director Clo Moriarty to a newly created role of retail and digital director, bringing together the supermarket's retail and digital teams under her leadership.

Meanwhile, chief marketing officer Mark Given will also join the grocer's operating board.

Roberts replaces Coupe, who announced in January he would step down after six years in charge, denying that his exit was prompted by the botched merger with Asda.

In a message to staff, Roberts said: 'Starting today, I will be spending more time with customers and listening to their feedback.

'I am really looking forward to hearing directly from people about what they want from us so we can change and adapt to ensure we are always meeting their needs.'

With the coronavirus crisis upending the retail sector, bosses are increasingly looking at ways to ensure online shopping can be more seamlessly linked out with bricks and mortar stores.

The latest Kantar supermarket figures showed online grocery sales hit record levels and now account for around 13 per cent of the market - a near doubling in a year.

Sainsbury’s, which deferred a £160million dividend and cancelled bonuses, previously said its supermarkets had been ‘busier than Christmas’ in the week before lockdown.

Coupe's tenure is expected to be seen mainly for attempting a series of acquisitions including buying Argos and Habitat, and the failed merger with Asda which was blocked by competition officials.

Roberts will have a base salary of £875,000 - a 9 per cent cut on Mr Coupe's £962,000 salary - with pension contributions of 7.5 per cent from the business. Coupe's contributions were 30 per cent.

Source: This is Money