Waitrose Not Losing Customers To Rivals, Insists MD

Waitrose managing director Mark Price has hit back at claims that the supermarket is struggling to compete with its rivals in the economic downturn.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the MD insisted the upmarket grocer is more than holding its own amid the current financial turmoil and refuted suggestions that shoppers are switching to its closest big four rival Sainsburys .
“It is not Waitrose in isolation (that is losing market share),” he told the newspaper.
“All the big players apart from Asda and Morrisons are losing market share and what I am reflecting here is that we are not losing customers to Sainsbury’s. That is simply not true,” he added.
Ealier this month, Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King told the Financial Times that both Waitrose and Marks and Spencer were “suffering” in the current climate – a claim that was supported by market research company TNS Worldpanel.
The firm’s latest figures revealed a drop in Waitrose’s market share from 4 per cent to 3.8 per cent in the 12 weeks to November 4. The company added that Waitrose had seen its growth rate fall back progressively for the past eight quarters.
Price said that the fall in market share was due to the retailer’s £45 million investment in store promotions and price cuts during 2008.
“I still think there is a place for price and quality,” he added.

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