Waitrose is trialling extended opening hours in a move that could see it keeping its doors open as long as its major rivals.
The chain’s relocated West Ealing store will be the first to open from 8am to 10pm on Thursdays and Fridays, with earlier opening hours on Monday to Wednesday.
Waitrose played down the move, saying hours for different stores were already varied to suit local communities. “This proposal is specifically for West Ealing,” said a spokeswoman. Hours for the retailer’s stores are commonly consistent on Monday to Thursday, with later
hours for Friday and restricted hours on Saturday and Sunday.
However, director of selling Geoff Salt said longer trading hours for the West Ealing store would help it counter rivals. “As West Ealing faces such fierce competition, this proposal should help us realise the benefits of its relocation.” Waitrose is also allowing branches to set their own opening times in the fortnight before Christmas.
In other moves, Waitrose has kicked off an in-house MBA-style business leadership drive for its 60 most senior staff. The ‘Leading the Business’ scheme has been commissioned by the new John Lewis Partnership Academy. The company has also appointed Chris Spencer as its new head of learning to improve development programmes.
Waitrose has opened its third regional distribution centre in Bardon, Leicestershire. It will serve 20-25 branches in the north, the Midlands and Wales.
Rod Addy