Waitrose To Open Convenience Store Format

Waitrose has unveiled plans to move into the convenience store sector as it attempts to put a halt to slowing sales growth.
The upmarket grocer will open a trial store in Nottingham’s new Trinity Square development in December, followed by three more shops next spring. If successful the new format will be introduced across the country.
The new 540 sq metre (5,800 sq ft) outlets – a fifth of the size of a normal high street supermarket – will focus on specialist service counters and fresh produce, and will incorporate self-service food bars .
Managing director Mark Price said: “We believe you shouldn’t have to compromise on the standard of your shopping experience just because a store is smaller.”
“We want to revive that old fashioned personalised service in convenience shops, but within a fresh and contemporary setting,” he added.
The new Waitrose stores are part of a plan to double the size of the business within the next decade. The retailer, which is part of the John Lewis Group, currently has 192 outlets in the UK with a further five due to open before Christmas .
But the supermarket chain is struggling under the current economic climate, which is forcing many shoppers to downgrade to discount rivals such as Aldi and Lidl .
Waitrose’s convenience stores experiment follows the brand’s recent testing of its market town supermarket format, which put more emphasis on local and fresh produce.
The first 1,000-1,400 sq metres (up to 15,000 sq ft) stores were opened in St Neots in Cambridgeshire, Brackley in Northamptonshire and Buckingham.

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