A Somerfield transformed into a Waitrose has seen a sharp upturn in its fortunes. Gillian Law went to see it Waitrose opened the first of its refurbished Somerfield stores in Sudbury in May. Manager Jim Woolf claims more shoppers now visit the store each day, coming from a much wider area, than ever visited the Somerfield. "We don't have any hard figures, but our perception is that the customer base is changing: staff who've stayed on from Somerfield say there are a lot of new faces coming in." People have been travelling to Waitrose from villages up to 15 miles away, he says, "and I had someone from Colchester who said it was worth the drive". They're coming to the store for the fresh produce ­ sales have risen sharply ­ and for luxury foods. The olive bar, for example, has surprised Woolf by its popularity. "It's been a real success from day one and customers clearly like it." Fresh curries and traditional British food' have also been popular, as has the patisserie counter. Organic produce has been slower to sell than in many Waitrose stores. Sudbury is a rural area and there's plenty of competition from local organic farmers. Wine sales are building nicely, says Woolf, with a good case trade and a special order service becoming popular: people have been placing large food and wine orders for parties. Waitrose stocks a good wine range, says Woolf, with bottles ranging from £3 to £15. Regular tasting sessions have helped boost sales. Most customers come by car, says Woolf, and the store has a 170 space car park, but it is also near to Sudbury bus station so public transport is easily accessible. Waitrose Sudbury doesn't offer Waitrose@Work, but it does do home delivery, good news for the delivery team who stayed on from Somerfield and would have been affected by the axing of 24-7. {{FEATURES }}