waitrose truro

Source: Exposure Photo Agency

James Baldry was talking to Lilith Foster-Collins

Store: Waitrose Truro
Store manager: James Baldry
Opened: 2016
Size: 21,527 sq ft
Market share: 13.55%
Population: 39,639
Grocery spend: £1,086,847.77
Spend by household: £62.39
Competitors: 8
Nearest rivals: Aldi 1.7 miles, , Asda 8.4 miles, Co-op 0.9 miles, Iceland 1.0 miles, Lidl 7.8 miles, M&S 1.0 miles, Morrisons 9.0 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.6 miles, Tesco 0.9 miles, Waitrose 36.8 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

Could you tell us a bit about your career? I’ve worked in food retail for 28 years now and 15 of those have been at Waitrose. Before that, I worked for some of its competitors. Truro was always on my bucket list. I really wanted to move back to the south west from a lifestyle point of view – I was born in Plymouth. But also Truro is one of just two Waitrose stores in Cornwall, so I saw it as an opportunity to grow the branch. With our click & collect service it’s also an opportunity to get the John Lewis brand out into Cornwall as well. When I saw the store come up in January 2022, I applied and got the job. It was like a dream come true in many ways.

Are there complexities that come with being one of only two Waitroses in the area? Overall we are very well looked after. The distribution team are really good at getting deliveries to us early, knowing it will take a while to get to us. The problem is sometimes during the summer trade, the M5 in particular can get backed up with holiday traffic and accidents, which can restrict deliveries. But generally product supply is pretty good. We are visited regularly from our area and regional teams. We also work quite closely with the branch managers in the Devon branches.

How are you preparing for the summer? We as a business recognise there’s up-trading within the summer peak shops, so we get increased amounts of stock. As a branch, we take on more partners over the summer to cope with demand and ensure service is good. We also get an increase in our online business as well over the summer. It’s not unheard of for us to deliver to tents and caravans of holidaymakers! As well as, of course, to people with holiday lets. It’s a significant part of our trade over the year: some weeks it can be bigger than Christmas in terms of demand.

What are your local customers like? I’ve got a mixture. I have a solid base of pensioners that come in throughout the week. Truro is the capital city of Cornwall so there are professional couples and young families here as well. We get quite a mixed bag, but what does strike me is that they’re all really interested in food. I think that’s one of the reasons that they come to Waitrose perhaps more than elsewhere – the fresh ranges and different ingredients we supply. We cater to these shoppers by having recipe cards within our shop and online, which cater for lots of different tastes. With the cost of living crisis, we have our Super Saver recipes to offer. Customers can cook a meal for under £2 per portion, which we’ve had a lot of interest in. There’s a vibrant food scene in Cornwall, and a lot of higher-end restaurants now, particularly with fish. We have a really popular fish counter, and I have two specialists who work on meat and fish. There’s a lot of interest in fish because most of the fish in the UK comes from Cornwall.

Have you seen changes in tastes in the Truro area? I think the Cornish have always eaten fish because it’s a local thing to them and the Cornish are proud of their local producers generally. What’s changed over time is that more young professionals in particular are living within Truro. We are definitely seeing them interested in food and the exploration of different world cuisines.