Philip & Richard Sainsbury’s furniture

Brothers in armchairs

Sainsbury’s Furniture is one of the city’s best loved family businesses, with four floors of modern and classic designs in lounge and dining furniture, upholstery, flooring and bedrooms. It’s run by brothers Philip and Richard Sainsbury, the third generation of the Sainsbury family since upholsterer Noel Sainsbury started the business with a handcart and high hopes back in 1932. Such were Noel’s skills that he was able to take on staff and move into a workshop on Fonthill Road by 1939. The family lived in the flat above the shop. The post war period brought a building boom to the city and shire and Sainbury’s moved to their present Holburn Street location and a carpet department was added. 

When Noel retired, his sons Cyril and Alan took over the running of the business. In the generation that followed, Alan’s son Richard joined the business straight from school while his brother Philip joined in 2002 after a career in sports journalism and live sports broadcasting. Their dad still drops in every now and then. 

Philip Sainsbury explained, ‘I look after the furniture operation side of the business, including sales and marketing while Richard heads up the flooring department. He’s often out providing estimates – some of our customers are the children and grandchildren of families who bought their furniture and carpet from our dad and grandad.’  

Richard added, ‘The way we live has changed so much since the business started and it continues to evolve. Furniture and flooring is like fashion – it’s always changing, so we focus on trends combined with quality. We are really blessed with our team of staff, from sales to our fitting and delivery teams. 

‘Now we have over 10,000 square feet over four floors. We stock leading brands such as beds from Harrisons, MLily, Sealy and beautifully designed sofas from British Classics G Plan and Parker Knoll as well as on trend collections from Ashwood and Alstons. I think Noel would be surprised by the extent of our selection of upholstery and our flooring department offers carpeting, LVT, wood and laminate. We have in-house fitters and probably one of the biggest ranges anywhere in the North-east. 

Working with your family could prove difficult for many of us, but as Philip says, ‘It’s genuinely great to see my brother on a day to day basis and in the main, we get on great. We rarely argue. There’s times we differ on opinion but that’s healthy and we respect each other’s opinions.

When they aren’t working or spending time with their families, both the brothers are keen on sports. Richard goes snowboarding abroad while Philip is the Chair of Aberdeen Girls and Ladies Football Club and still works as a floor manager on live TV sports broadcasts. As well as snowboarding, Richard says a lot of his time is spent ferrying his younger son to his football training and matches and tries to spend as much time as possible with his elder son, who is studying accountancy in Edinburgh.

Will there be a fourth generation of the Sainsbury family involved in the business? Well, Philip has three teenaged daughters and Richard has two sons. As Richard says, ‘It’s entirely possible. That said, neither of us would push them into the business, they would have to come on board only if they wanted too and even they wished to join later after getting other life experiences in other business areas.

196 Holburn Street
Aberdeen, AB10 6dDA
Tel: 01224 585595

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