Lobbying review at J Sainsbury

Retail group J Sainsbury is to review its public affairs account, currently held by GJW Government Relations.

Retail group J Sainsbury is to review its public affairs account,

currently held by GJW Government Relations.

GJW has worked for J Sainsbury for five years, and this is the first

time that the account has been reviewed. ’We have become comfortable,

and for the sake of our own self discipline we agreed that it was right

to review (the account) and the best way to review it is to go to a

comparison,’ said the company’s group public affairs director, Roger


Saoul said GJW would be invited to pitch. But it is understood that

other lobbying firms have already expressed an interest in pitching for

the J Sainsbury work. However other large lobbying firms which already

have links with rival supermarket chains are unlikely to pitch.

Westminster Strategy, for example, represents Safeway. GPC Market Access

in London represents Marks and Spencer and does some work for Asda. Lowe

Bell breakaway agency Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn recently won Tesco’s

lobbying account from Lowe Bell Political.

J Sainsbury appointed GPC Market Access Europe this summer to monitor

policy, particularly on consumer protection, emanating from the European

Commission and other European institutions. J Sainsbury wants greater

input into the formulation of European legislation.

The UK lobbying agency is likely to handle issues including food safety

and planning applications. In July the Government approved guidance to

local authorities, devised under the Conservatives, to encourage

developers to build new sites in town centres. Developers now have to

demonstrate that there are adequate public transport facilities when

building out of town.

J Sainsbury will also need to monitor legislation on individual savings

accounts, which the Government announced would be operated with help

from supermarkets. J Sainsbury has recently come under fire for

donations to the Labour Party, with critics questioning whether this may

have influenced local planning application decisions.

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