Sainsbury's is set to sell £250 wines to the sophisticated residents of London's smartest area at a gourmet market in the heart of Chelsea.

The UK supermarket will sell luxury food and wine within the Bluebird Gastrodome, an ultra-chic food market and restaurant in Chelsea’s King’s Road.

Bluebird is owned by Terence Conran, the entrepreneur behind Habitat and a host of other high-profile ventures.

‘Sainsbury’s Market at Bluebird’ will occupy the ground floor of the former garage. It will replace the existing food market, while Conran’s Bluebird restaurant, bar, refurbished café, club and home cook shop will trade as usual.

Contracts were exchanged at the end of January. Sainsbury’s will provide the retailing muscle to keep prices competitive.

It’s not the first time a supermarket has targeted the palates of more affluent shoppers. Last autumn Waitrose opened the country’s first in-store wine bar within its massive Canary Wharf flagship foodstore, where shoppers can sip Penfolds Grange and Château Latour while eating antipasti.

‘It’s about satisfying the area’s clientele,’ Sainsbury’s wine director Allan Cheesman told decanter.com. ‘We intend to give customers tremendous service and will be employing experts. I’m not prepared to detail the wine list just yet, but it will include wines costing several hundreds of pounds a bottle.’

A survey of what local shoppers most desired from a food store fuelled the development, Sainsbury’s says, which will sell everyday fresh foods as well as luxury produce. Wines for sale will include 72 fine wines costing £10 upwards, and 50 classic fine wines priced between £30 and £250. Dom Pérignon Champagne will be on sale.

Sainsbury’s Market at Bluebird will open on 3 April 2003, with more Sainsbury’s Markets expected to follow.

Written by Liz Hughes21 February 2003