Winner: Waitrose Crowborough
Department manager: Richard Walton
Size: 23,256 sq ft
Market share: 41.6%
Nearest rivals: Morrisons - 0.1 mile Lidl - 0.2 miles Sainsbury’s - 6 miles
Store data source: Analysis by CACI. Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000
How do explain your win this week? We train people up well, but we follow a culture of leading by example too. Some partners have worked here for over 30 years, while others are students just working evening and weekend shifts so everyone takes their lead from others. Anybody who goes beyond what their job asks of them gets a thank you. Winning store of the week is definitely down to the brilliant, hardworking staff.
Press reports have linked the myWaitrose coffee and newspaper giveaway to the predicted lowering of profit expectations. What’s your take? I think it is a marvellous marketing initiative. The free coffee gets more people into the store, and most often when people come in for a free coffee, they’ll have a little browse around, which in turn increases profit. It also increases a feeling of goodwill.
Sales growth has averaged only 0.64% over five weeks in July compared with 5.5% during the same period last year. What have you noticed? The grocery market is incredibly tough, but winning store of the week shows that it’s not always about being the cheapest, but that quality of service and customer satisfaction are very important too. The discount retailers are growing, but though we’re competitive, we won’t try to lead a price war. We stock lots of local produce, like cheeses, chutneys and wines, so people come to us because we focus on great service and good quality food.
The free minimum spend delivery limit for Waitrose went up recently. Has this affected in-store footfall? We haven’t noticed a massive impact in store, but click & collect is certainly very popular. Until the refit next year, we won’t have lockers for customers to pick up their groceries; instead, they use the customer service desks. I like this as it means they get a more personal service. At Waitrose, people can get reasonably sized items delivered from John Lewis in store too.