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The interim results from Waitrose this week confirm industry figures that show upmarket supermarkets and convenience stores are leading the market (albeit from a 4.2% share according to Kantar Worldpanel). Charlie Mayfield, the chairman, highlights many reasons for its success, but here are five that local retailers should consider.
1. Marketing works. Waitrose claims that more than 370,000 extra customer transactions resulted from its spring tie-up with Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal in the first eight weeks. This autumn, it launches a cookery school. Engaged shoppers are more profitable shoppers! 2. You need a value offering. 17% of Waitrose sales are from its value range, dubbed “Essentials”. 3. Momentum works. The company strategy is to bring Waitrose to more people in more places. It invested in 75,000 square feet of extra selling space in the first half of this year, including three convenience stores. In the second half of the year, it has adding eight convenience stores. 4. Strategic partnerships work. It has put seven more outlets into Welcome Break motorway service areas, taking the number up to 12. They are trading ahead of expectations. It has a presence in 11 Boots stores with a “food for now” offering and in three with a “food for later” offering. In return it is selling Boots toiletries in seven of its stores. 5. Be confident. Mr Mayfield forecasts stronger headwinds in the near future but told the Financial Times: “There is a danger that people are too gloomy in the short term, while in the long term I think the best forecast is for a long and slow recovery, with a few bumps in the road.”
While for many local shops Waitrose may appear to be operating in a different space, it is a trend setter – and you should make sure that you are aware of what it is doing and how you can tap into the shopper needs that it has identified.