The Waitrose Food and Home store in Canary Wharf is testament to the changes that have occurred in London's Docklands over the past 10 years. It provides the first serious competition to Asda's Docklands store in an area which, until recently, was devoid of major multiples.
The Isle of Dogs was never seen as an area where Waitrose would thrive, especially if combined with the upmarket John Lewis homeware offer. However, research by CACI reveals the demographic mix of the catchment of the new store has seen a dramatic shift since 1991, when the last available Census was published. The most marked shift has been in four of Waitrose's most important customer groups, based on CACI's ACORN analysis of TGI market research data.
The number of wealthy achievers, suburbia' and affluent urbanites, town and city areas' have more than doubled in the period according to CACI. The equally important prosperous professionals' and better-off executives, inner-city areas' have also seen growth of about 70%. As a result, CACI suggests that Docklands residents have a stronger affinity with Waitrose than with the Asda fascia. So Asda could be hit hard by the arrival of Waitrose, which could pick up consumers who used the Asda and Cabot Place Tesco Metro because of the lack of an upmarket' alternative.
Waitrose Food and Home will benefit further by pulling upmarket customers from a wider area than a standard supermarket because of the added attraction of the John Lewis home products.
The store fills a notable John Lewis oasis between the nearest stores in the West End and Bluewater. It must be assumed that the ever-loyal John Lewis customers will be drawn from throughout the east of London and this will have a valuable spin-off for grocery sales.
A considerable daytime population of workers is likely to use the store. CACI has analysed the Workforce ACORN profile of comparable business areas in the City and found a close fit between Waitrose shoppers and City workers.
There are risks ahead, however. Marks and Spencer will be the anchor tenant of Jubilee Place mall under construction to the south of Canary Wharf estate.
CACI's analysis reveals that M&S has an even stronger fit with the catchment than Waitrose. So Waitrose may not find life so easy, assuming that a food offer is included within the proposed store.