The Balham branch opened in 1888. It was one
of three shops opened by John James Sainsbury in that year following
the success of his first 'High Class' provisions store at Croydon. Balham, Brondesbury and Lewisham
were all prosperous middle class areas occupied by 'white collar'
commuters who travelled to work each day in the City of London.
These people could afford to buy a greater range of luxury foodstuffs
than the working class shoppers in market streets.
Sainsbury's branches in middle class areas sold
a wider product range than those in working class districts,
but as John James's business grew he was able to negotiate better
prices with his suppliers and so make luxury goods like poultry
and fancy cheeses affordable to all his customers.
Middle class shoppers expected additional services
like home delivery and weekly or monthly credit. These were expensive
to provide. More staff were also needed to prepare the goods
and to package them for dispatch to customers' homes. The Balham
shop traded until 1969 and, as the photograph above shows, changed
little in appearance during this period.