Manager: Francesca Siwicka
Store: Waitrose Woking
Size: 16,235 sq ft
Market share: 10.2%
Grocery spend: £5,392,770.54
Spend by household: £73.73
Nearest rivals: Aldi 4.6 miles, Asda 2.1 miles, Co-op 0.5 miles, Iceland 5.8 miles, Lidl 4.9 miles, M&S 1.4 miles, Morrisons 1.0 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.3 miles, Tesco 1.1 miles, Waitrose 3.9 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
How long have you worked in retail? I’m a 25-year partner and I’ve been at the Goldsworth Park store for nine years. I’ve been a branch manager in five different shops over 13 years. This one is close to home, so I’ve stayed here and I like it.
What’s the store like? The branch turned 40 at the beginning of November. We’re in the middle of a really big housing estate, and the majority of the staff who work here also live on Goldsworth Park. If ever there was that branch with the ‘family feel’, this really is it.
What do you mean by ‘family feel’? It means there is that hardcore group of customers and staff who are really loyal because they’ve been shopping here since it opened. Two partners were members of the opening team. The team here are passionate about service, and really know who their regulars are. They look forward to seeing them every week and that keeps customers returning. We have an incredibly diverse mix of customers and lots of the feedback we get is from customers who liked that they were called by their first name or were asked how they are. I think that anyone coming in, new or regular, will feel that family warmth.
What has your experience been over the past year? Customers are talking about price. You can feel the difference made by the new lower prices campaign that has been ongoing over the past year following Waitrose’s record £100m investment in lowering prices. Lots of partners who work here also shop here, and to hear them talking about seeing those prices come through has made a huge difference. The branch has remained focused on availability and on what the customer wants. We’ve done really well this year to maintain some of our best availability in recent years – particularly coming out of Covid when it was hard to get things. It really feels like now is the time to focus on getting the right products and the right availability.
How are your preparations for Christmas going? We’re five weeks away from Christmas, but customers aren’t quite there yet. From 1 December, we’ll start to ramp up a lot more tastings. Our preparation really started behind the scenes over the past two weeks, building up stock. We want the branch to look like a little grotto, so we want to display things, be a little bit more creative and share all the great products we’ve got to really make the shop feel more Christmassy. It feels like we’re achieving that this year. We’re just beginning to do our staff planning now, but we are really lucky to have a lot of returning seasonal temps, including youngsters who used to work for us and have gone off to university, but live locally.
Lots of new products hit the stores before Christmas. How do you make sure everyone is up to date on them? We make sure we run lots of tastings when new products come in, not just for customers, but for partners too so they can talk with some real confidence about that product. For example, we ran a tasting for the new Japan Menyu in the partners’ dining room.
How did the store celebrate its birthday? We had a raffle with 40 prizes: one of the branch cooks made a giant chocolate cake, which we got to share. Winning this is the best bit of feedback for what is up there as one of Waitrose’s oldest shops.