Waitrose Otley

Source: Hello Darling Photography

John Simpson was talking to Lilith Foster-Collins

Store: Waitrose Otley
Store manager: John Simpson
Opened: 2004
Size: 21,035 sq ft
Market share: 18.7%
Population: 109,935
Grocery spend: £2,864,207.12
Spend by household: £61.24
Competitors: 19

Nearest rivals: Aldi 2.1 miles, Asda 0.4 miles, Co-op 2.0 miles, Iceland 5.9 miles, Lidl 6.1 miles, M&S 2.4 miles, Morrisons 2.3 miles, Sainsbury’s 0.2 miles, Tesco 4.4 miles, Waitrose 7.4 miles

Source: CACI. For more info visit www.caci.co.uk/contact. Notes: Shopper profiling is measured using Grocery Acorn shopper segmentation. Store catchment data (market share, population, expenditure, spend by household, competition) is within a five-mile radius.
For CACI’s shopper segmentation of the other stores we visited this week see the online report at www.thegrocer.co.uk/stores/the-grocer-33

What has been your career trajectory at Waitrose? I’ve worked in food retail for 30 years. This Christmas just gone I’ve worked in the partnership for 18 years. I was acquired by the partnership in 2004 when they bought some Safeway shops from Morrisons. I’ve since worked in 14 shops for Waitrose, and I’ve been in Otley for six months now.

How have you found it settling in? For me it’s a bit unique because this is the third time I’ve worked in the shop in different positions, so some of the team I know and some of the team are new. Settling in was perhaps easier than it would have been if I were completely new to the shop. There’s a really good team here and the shop has a lovely feel as well, so that really helps. It’s got a really good atmosphere and culture.

What distinguishes Waitrose Otley? Waitrose in Otley was very much the town shop for a long time. It was the only supermarket in the town. A lot of customers are very loyal to us. A lot of customers know our partners and a lot of partners know our customers, and I think it’s a little bit special for that reason.
We’re really friendly with customers. Every customer gets a hello from me as they walk in or as they’re walking around the shop. Over my six months here, a lot of customers now know me by name and will come and talk to me. They’re really interested in how the branch is doing and how I’m doing as well. It’s got a nice family feel to it. A lot of our shoppers like food and they like to cook. I’ve got a real mix here, so I have some individuals who will shop after work or before work and some families as well who have a real passion for quality food. A lot of my customers are interested in the provenance of the food: where the food comes from, and what the impact on the environment has been too.

What seasonal deals do you have on right now? For Veganuary there’s a meal deal on at the moment for plant-based products. It’s a £9 vegan meal deal, so it’s a full meal: a starter and main course, all grouped together on the shop floor. Customers are definitely seeking it out and it’s working well for us. We’ve also got lots and lots of value offers on at the moment, including our Super Saver recipes, which are recipes that are £2 a portion and they give customers inspiration for meals. We’re also currently running our Great Savings Event, which includes offers on thousands of items.

What are your plans for the store for the next year? Our focus this year is going to be more training for partners, so partners can be more flexible and get better job satisfaction. We’re running a whole course around understanding our customers during the cost of living crisis.

How do you keep store standards and service high? We spend a lot of time making sure the shop looks right. It certainly gives partners a feeling of pride. When the shop is looking well presented and sharp, it helps customers find products. It also makes them feel comfortable with the shop. We spend a lot of time encouraging partners to keep the shop really tidy. Service is so important and our customers really appreciate that extra level of service that we can offer. We’re really keen that partners give the best service they can any at every opportunity.