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* Launch is part of non-food growth strategy
* Initially offering 4,500 products, rising to 8,000 in Sept
LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - British grocer J Sainsbury (SBRY.L) started selling non-food products on the Internet on Sunday as part of its growth strategy centred on expanding beyond its core grocery offering.
The supermarket, Britain's third-biggest behind Tesco (TSCO.L) and Asda, owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), said it would initially offer 4,500 non-food products online, including kitchenware, soft furnishings, home electronics and furniture.
The products, which will rise to 8,000 by September, will be both branded and own-brand, including the newly launched Tu Home range and items from Sony, Apple and Le Creuset, it said in a statement.
Sainsbury's Trading Director Mike Coupe said: "Today's launch further emphasises that non-food is key to Sainsbury's growth strategy for the future."
He said the supermarket could already deliver to 88 percent of households, and research showed its customers wanted to buy non-food items, too.
"We believe this is the right time to build on the success of our existing online presence," he said.
Sainsbury's raised about 432 million pounds ($714 million) in June to accelerate its expansion, including adding 15 percent more selling space over the next two years, half of which is earmarked for non-food. [ID:nLG840186] (Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.6049 Pound)