balham branch in 1894

 Advertisement for Balham in 1888. 70Kb.
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.

balham branch in 1969
Balham on its closing day, 1969. 61Kb.
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.


Back to 1882, Croydon. Copyright J Sainsbury plc, 2000. On to the beginning of rapid expansion.