Waitrose plans to move in on the convenience market
September 25, 2009
In a move to gain access to 6.5 million out-of-reach customers, Waitrose have said that they plan to move into the convenience food market by opening up to 300 outlets around the U.K. In addition to this it will now sell its food through Boots stores, thus adding another 2,000 stores to its portfolio.
The move to open smaller format shops will double the amount of Waitrose outlets in the U.K. The company which is part of the John Lewis Partnership also intends to extend its partnership with Welcome Break, the motorway service station company, across another nine of its locations.
In return for selling its food in branches of Boots, Boots will now sell its products in Waitrose stores. Thirteen in-store Waitrose pharmacies are presently being rebranded under the Boots banner.
The move to open convenience stores will put Waitrose in direct competition with rivals Sainsbury and Tesco, who have been expanding rapidly. Managing director of Waitrose, Mark Price when talking about the company’s move into the convenience sector said that it was a huge opportunity to get the brand into areas that were hitherto inaccessible. Waitrose became the best performing supermarket chain in the country in March when it released its range of value products under the Essentials name.
The move to spread convenience stores across the U.K. has caused some to worry that it will cause the demise of many shops on the high street, by driving independent businesses away. However the retail giants say that the introduction of a convenience store can actually benefit an area by drawing customers in.