David Smith Waitrose Solihull

Source: Steve Evans, Seven Star Photography

Store: Waitrose Solihull

Store manager: David Smith

Opened: June 2016

Size: 18,664 sq ft

Market share: 48%

Population: 468,395

Grocery spend: £11,423,223

Spend by household: £65

Nearest rivals: Aldi 0.2 miles, Asda 1.9 miles, Co-op 1.3 miles, Iceland 1.8 miles, Lidl 1.6 miles, M&S 1.6 miles, Morrisons 0.5 miles, Sainsbury’s 0.3 miles, Tesco 0.3 miles, Waitrose 2.6 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 our service & availability report.


Tell us about your background with Waitrose. I have been with the Partnership for 18 years. I’ve worked in a number of different branches over that time, generally around the West Midlands, but have ventured down into Bath and to Witney in Oxford. I have only been at the Solihull branch now for six weeks. The partners are so welcoming and lovely, and have made me feel part of the team very quickly.

How does Solihull differ from previous management roles? We manage people, and people come with complexities so you never know what the next person to come through your door will bring to the table. In terms of the shop, it’s the physical differences more than anything else – so whether it’s a curfew on deliveries, a curfew on noise, or a structure of having a lift on the second floor… it’s the logistics.

What have been the main challenges so far? As the mystery shopper pointed out, there were two items out of stock. I’d love availability to be perfect, and that’s where my focus is – striving to be the best we can be.

Why do you think the mystery shopper did not find the layout intuitive? With the layout, once you understand and know it, it works really well. The branch was set out five-and-a-half years ago, so it’s a pretty modern build. It’s not something I’ve had feedback around in the time I’ve been here.

It’s interesting that a third of your customer base is families on a budget. I think we’re in a world where Waitrose is for everyone. Whether it’s individuals or families who really love food and are interested in their provenance, they’re the ones who shop with us. Having worked in other branches, it doesn’t feel that we have a disproportionately high percentage of families here. Being in a town centre, we get passing trade and the office crowd as well.

Tell us more about the myWaitrose relaunch reception? Customers are now able to come in and choose their own personalised offers. We’re also doing 20% off on fish and meat and the early sales indications are going phenomenally well. The service counters here are superb – the guys do an absolutely amazing job of displays and have built some really impressive relationships with regular customers, so they are doing really well. We have done Fish Friday for a number of years (20% off) so customers are happy they don’t just get that benefit on Friday now. 

Have you had customer feedback yet? It’s day one so we are still very new to it, but the feedback has been very positive. We’ve had a couple of people enquiring about it, but because the new myWaitrose has been on trial with customers and partners over the last few weeks, it’s actually been a really smooth transition.

Are people stocking up on Easter products already? We’ve got our full Easter assortment on sale – the traditional Easter eggs and the Waitrose N0.1 range, which has some really special and impressive Easter eggs. But we’re finding what is moving really well is the impulse confectionery.

How are you and the team preparing for the end of Covid restrictions? We will leave it down to individuals to decide and it will be their prerogative whether they wear the mask. It’s personal judgement and that’s where we will leave it.