Julian Hunt
New ideas in fresh foods top the menu at Waitrose's latest store ­ the 80,000 sq ft Food & Home in London's Canary Wharf, which opened this week.
The store offers a salad and juice bar, sushi bar, steak and oyster bar, Eat In, Eat Out caf頡rea, and a wine bar ­ as well as the regular Waitrose food assortment of 19,000 lines.
MD Steven Esom said Waitrose had spent two years scouring the globe for new ideas in fresh foods that could be included in Canary Wharf. And he hoped many of its features would be rolled out across the chain as part of its efforts to lead the way in fresh foods, adding: "This is not a concept store; this is a proper shop."
Esom said that putting together fresh foods and department store merchandise in a smart way provided good margins and underpinned the successful formula of Food & Home stores.
"Clearly Canary Wharf has to take a fair amount of money. But if we match what we are already doing with our other Food & Homes we will be okay. But we obviously hope for more."
Unusually, the new store is housed on three levels. The 40,000 sq ft food department is at the bottom, with two 20,000 sq ft floors above it, offering a range of merchandise from the John Lewis department stores.
Esom said Waitrose was unique in hypermarket retailing terms in that it was able to combine a strong food offer with the non food expertise of its sister company within the John Lewis Partnership.
Waitrose's fourth Food & Home opens in Cheltenham next week. Esom confirmed the chain was keen to build more.
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