Waitrose: access all areas in brand push
Waitrose, the premium UK grocer, is improving its accessibility with more convenience store openings, partnerships at motorway services and on forecourts. It is also linking up with Boots in a reciprocal arrangement whereby Waitrose products will be sold in Boots stores and the chemist's health and toiletry products will be sold in Waitrose stores. New franchise stores in the Middle East are also on the cards.
Waitrose's convenience expansion comes on the back of strong trading. In the year ending 30 January 2010, sales rose by 11% to £4.5bn. Like-for-like business grew by 3.6%, excluding petrol, and by 5.3% in the second half.
Waitrose opened its first convenience store in Nottingham in 2008. In 2009 it opened in Clifton, Bristol; Crouch End, London; and Oxted, Surrey. Last month (March) it opened in Ashbourne, Derbyshire; and will open in a former Budgens store in Cheam, Surrey; in the summer. These stores are larger convenience outlets ranging from 5,000sq to 7,000sq ft in size.
Waitrose: brand extension in convenience segments
This year Waitrose will open its first smaller, 3,000sq ft convenience store but the location is still under wraps.
Waitrose is also expanding its partnerships with Welcome Break and Shell.
The retailer now operates eight stores at Welcome Break motorway services with three more planned for this year.
A product supply trial with Shell has been extended from three to six forecourt stores.
Last month (March), Waitrose started the Boots trial, offering its own brand food for now and food for later.
Waitrose is trading strongly overseas too. Two stores opened in Dubai in partnership with Fine Fare Food Market are reported to be performing well in spite of the economic downturn in the region. Further stores are planned for Bahrain, Oman and Abu Dhabi. Waitrose is reported to be targeting 20+ stores in the Middle East.
In 2009, Waitrose opened a total of 25 news shops, including 13 stores it acquired from The Co-operative and one former Woolworths shop. The retailer's twin strategy of offering premium products and value through its new essential Waitrose own label is paying dividends.
According to the retailer, the essentials brand accounts for 17% of total sales and is on track to generate £750m of business this year. New gourmet lines including an indulgent desserts range, Seriously; and Menu From, restaurant-quality ready meals; are selling well too, said Waitrose.
Waitrose in motorway services expansion
April 2010 Issue