Waitrose to open first smaller format convenience store

Posted by Josette Dunn on 29th March 2010

Waitrose has announced that it will open its first smaller format convenience store this summer as part of its plans to increase its presence in the UK’s convenience sector.The first of the new format stores, which will offer shops with sales areas ranging from 2,000-4,000 sqft, will open in Fitzroy Street, Cambridge in early summer and create up to 40 new jobs.

It will be the first of four initial trials of the format planned for this year and will become the first Waitrose shop in its core estate to measure under 3,000sqft.

The smaller convenience shops will help the supermarket in bringing its brand to the 6.5 million potential customers it has identified who are currently unable to easily access Waitrose. It has already opened five successful convenience shops measuring between 5-7,000 sqft1 and its latest format will play an integral role in its expansion plans.

Anthony Wysome, Head of Convenience at Waitrose, says: “We’ve just announced our business results showing a very successful year, in which we’ve made the brand more accessible to more people in more places.

“We know that there are still over 6 million customers who want to shop with us. This move will enable us to be more flexible in reaching new locations across the UK with an offer that whilst smaller, will maintain the highest standards of Waitrose quality, service and shopping experience.”

Research into shopping patterns at Waitrose existing convenience shops demonstrates that customers purchase everything they need for the next 24 hours, so the new shop will focus on three key areas:

· Food to eat now: such as freshly baked bread and the retailer’s new range of ‘food to go’ which includes sandwiches, salads, deli products and individually wrapped cakes.

· Food to take home and eat later: quick & easy meal suggestions, fresh meat & fish and ranges such as Menu From Waitrose – restaurant style dishes created by some of the nation’s best chefs.

· Everyday items: the retailer’s ranges such as essential Waitrose, as well as other household items such as health and beauty, cleaning products and cards and gift wrap.