Waitrose Preston

Frank Young was talking to Stephen Jones

Duty manager: Frank Young
Store: Waitrose Capitol Way, Preston
Opened: 2012
Size: 30,000 sq ft
Market share: 4.45%
Population: 269,953
Spend by household: £58.74
Competitors: 54
Nearest rivals:, Aldi 0.8 miles, Asda 2.9 miles, Co-op 1.4 miles, Iceland 0.8 miles, Lidl 0.8 miles, M&S 1.1 miles, Morrisons 1.5 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.1 miles, Tesco 0.9 miles, Waitrose 8.1 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

Tell us about your career in retail: I celebrate my 25th year with the partnership this year. Seventeen years of that has been with Waitrose and I’ve been in store manager roles since 2016 – at Preston for four – having worked my way up through different grades.

The store is on the edge of town who is coming into shop? We’re on a retail park, and classed as a bit of a destination store, so people will normally be using transport to come here. We get a lot of footfall from people using the local eateries. Customers tend to know what they are coming for. It’s not impulsive, but they are looking for inspiration or new ideas, so we get lots of interaction with customers. We typically see larger baskets. Our job, of course, is to add extra items to that basket as much as possible with a new promotion, new line or range.

How many colleagues do you have? We have 215 partners in branch. While we’re not open 24 hours, we work across a 24-hour operation. We have a large e-commerce operation and pick throughout the night. We have a 60-seat café, and the counters – which customers really appreciate. Recently we’ve been growing our on-demand groceries, which we pick in store.

What has the impact been of the on-demand expansion? Waitrose already had an existing service with Deliveroo, but introduced Uber Eats last year. There’s been no cannibalisation of either and both have grown.

There’s no typical time for demand, and basket tends to be much more reflective of time of day, but is smaller than general. We can have as little as one item being ordered, but the largest we’ve had is 100-plus items.

What has ‘Simpler Shops’ looked like in Preston since your last Grocer 33 win? It’s been a huge driver of efficiency. We’ve reduced the number of times we handle products, which has been fantastic. It’s enabled us to improve availability.

Has it led to a change in staffing hours? We have had partners across the shops change their working patterns, but we’ve tried everything we can to minimise that impact and serve our customers as well as we can, when they need us. From a transaction point of view, we have more customers shopping with us now than this time last year, and the year before.

When was your last refit? It’s not an old store, so the most recent upgrade we had was a few years ago to improve the e-commerce operation. It was to improve efficiency and capacity back of house. Other than that, the last major investment we had was in August to complete a self-checkout rebalance. It would have looked like a huge change, but in essence it increased our self-checkouts marginally, at the loss of two main line checkouts.

How do you approach the balance? It’s more trying to integrate the branch as a whole, rather than seeing it in silos. Whenever we need to increase the number of people on checkouts, we will call on the branch to do so. It’s not a hard and fast rule. There is data that will help us understand what we need over the course of a week, across the different hours of the day, based on historical stats. But a lot of it is just talking to customers – we’ll ask if people would like to move on to self-service and will respect that if they don’t.