Waitrose wine display

Waitrose has extended its long-running partnership with Wincanton to manage its wine and spirits logistics network.

Under the new five-year contract, Wincanton will continue to oversee the storage and distribution of the wines and spirits for the supermarket from its bonded warehouse facility in Greenford, London. 

Wincanton will service Waitrose’s 329 supermarkets and convenience shops, and 27 outlets in Welcome Break service stations as part of the operation. The group will also oversee delivery for Waitrose Cellar, the retailer’s in-house wine ordering site.

The contract extends the partnership between the two businesses to 25 years, and will see the logistics group co-ordinate delivery of some 13 million cases of alcohol each year, according to Wincanton.

“The extension of our long-standing relationship with Waitrose & Partners speaks to our shared commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in all we do,” said Carl Moore, Wincanton MD of e-fulfilment.

“It’s a relationship built on collaborative working, flexibility and trust, and we look forward to partnering with Waitrose for many years to come.”

The logistics group also handles warehouses for Sainsbury’s, Asda and Co-op.

In March, Wincanton issued a profit warning after it lost a high-profile contract with HRMC to manage a network of depots and storage sites handling customs imports. The £71m deal, signed in 2019, was supposed to last until 2024, but HMRC said it planned to move to another supplier by June this year.

That followed the loss for Wincanton of a 25-year logistics partnership with Heinz in March last year.

In an exclusive interview with The Grocer earlier this year, Wincanton CEO James Wroath said the company was working to modernise its operations. The business is investing in technology that will help it cut the number of empty lorries within its transport network, while using robots to improve efficiency in warehouses.

Waitrose would benefit from new investment in warehouse management systems, which would improve efficiency and accuracy, Wincanton said at the time.