Waitrose

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Waitrose

<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; padding:16px 0 16px 0;">Image:Waitroselogo.PNG</td></tr>

Type Wholly owned subsidiary of John Lewis Partnership
Founded 1904
Headquarters Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Bracknell (head office)

<tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Key people</th><td>Steven D. Esom, Managing Director</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Industry</th><td>Supermarket</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Products</th><td>Food</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Revenue</th><td>£3bn GBP (Image:Green Arrow Up.svg 10% FY 2004)</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Employees</th><td>64,000</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Slogan</th><td>Quality food, honestly priced</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Website</th><td>www.waitrose.com</td></tr>

Waitrose is a British supermarket chain owned by the John Lewis Partnership, with 184 branches (November 2006). Like John Lewis's department stores, Waitrose is targeted at a middle class market, emphasising quality rather than low prices (their slogan reflects this; "Quality food, honestly priced"). Waitrose's main competitor in this market is Marks & Spencer. It currently has a 3.9% nationwide market share, with 7% market share in the more prosperous south of England and a 16% share of the organic food market.

Stores vary in size, from 7,000 to 56,000 square feet. Because of its corporate structure, shares in the company are held in trust on behalf of its employees (called partners). All employees receive an annual profit distribution which is usually around 10-15 percent of their annual salary - in effect the company is owned by its employees. (A side effect of this is that the company could not effectively be taken over by a rival chain.)

The company has a Royal Warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to the Queen, and had a charter to supply groceries to the Queen Mother.

Contents

[edit] History

Image:WaitroseChesham.jpg
A typical Waitrose store (Chesham branch)
Image:Waitrose.jpg
A new Waitrose store under construction in Ampthill, Bedfordshire (May 2006)
Image:Waitrosepetersfield.jpg
Waitrose branch in Petersfield Hampshire

Waitrose originally traded mainly in London and the South East of England, though it has expanded further north in recent years.The company was formed in 1904 by Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor. They opened their first shop at 263 Acton Hill, West London. The company was taken over by The John Lewis Partnership in 1937 and it opened its first supermarket in 1955 in Streatham.

In 2000, Waitrose purchased 11 stores from rival Somerfield, and 19 former Safeway stores were bought from Morrisons in 2004, in a project known as Toronto. In order to meet competition regulations when it acquired Safeway, Morrisons had to sell 52 of the Safeway stores, and the first batch of stores sold went to Waitrose, suggesting that Waitrose had been given the pick of the divestment portfolio. It is speculated that Morrisons preferred to sell to Waitrose rather than to its larger rivals, possibly as they serve different markets.

In August 2005 Waitrose purchased a further five former Safeway stores from Morrisons. This took the firm as far north as Durham, fitting with its long term strategy to evolve into a national retailer. In December 2005, Waitrose also bought another shop at Biggin Hill, Greater London, from Morrisons.

In March 2006, Waitrose announced the purchase of five additional stores from Somerfield under the name of Project Turin. This was a significant landmark, as it meant that Waitrose opened two stores in Scotland (both in Edinburgh). This fitted neatly with its national supermarket chain plan. The stores which were purchased were:

  • Comely Bank, Edinburgh, Scotland - 20,500 sq ft/86 employees;
  • Morningside, Morningside Road, Edinburgh, Scotland - 19,000 sq ft/58 employees;
  • Balham, Balham High Road, South West London - 15,000 sq ft/71 employees;
  • Barbican, Cherry Tree Walk, City of London - 14,000 sq ft/107 employees;
  • Buxton, Spring Garden Centre, Buxton, Derbyshire - 15,000 sq ft/75 employees.

In July 2006, Waitrose announced it had purchased another six stores from Morrisons and also a former Safeway regional distribution centre in Aylesford, Kent [1] expanding Waitrose to 182 stores. The six stores which were rebranded into Waitrose are located at:

A further new built store, the 185th, will be opening in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, by Christmas 2007. In addition, Waitrose has submitted a planning application for a 186th store in Crewkerne, Somerset, and is considering making an application for a 187th store in Wimborne, Dorset. Many locals in Wimborne oppose the plans for the Wimborne store because the proposed site is within the town's conservation area and such a development would rob the town of an attractive open space at its centre.

In total, Waitrose have purchased 31 stores from Morrisons and 16 from Somerfield.

The purchase of the Safeway branches was called Project Toronto. This follows a trend of the first letter of the project name following the first letter of the most important part of that project in the alphabet - S-afeway and T-oronto. The same is also the same for S-omerfield and T-urin.

[edit] Stores

With the Somerfield and Morrison's stores now handed over, as of November 2006 Waitrose have a total of 184 supermarkets.[2]

Waitrose's long term goal (by 2015) is to have around 230 stores nationwide. There are as yet no plans to expand into Northern Ireland. Recently they have entered into a partnership with the Indian supermarket chain HyperCity to distribute Waitrose own-brand products in store [3]

Waitrose is mainly located in the south east of England. The chain only has one store in Cornwall (in Saltash, quite literally right next to the border between Cornwall and Devon), three in Wales, eleven in the north of England and two in Scotland (both in Edinburgh).

[edit] In store

Stores are usually finished in a beige colour with white walls (in stark contrast to more colourful stores such as Sainsbury's). Section names on walls are in the same colour as the walls and raised out of them, and so defined by shadows (there is usually a large Waitrose logo on a far wall in the same fashion.) Instore noise is kept to a minimum, with no music or spoken promotions, although a public address system is used for staff callouts and customer announcements. Cages (trolleys for holding large amounts of stock, usually around 6ft high) are used on the shopfloor, and Partners also use smaller, more navigable stock trolleys. Unlike most other supermarkets, new (or refitted) Waitrose stores usually have a welcome desk separate from a kiosk or checkout.

[edit] Marketing and perception

Image:Old Waitrose Logo.png
Waitrose's old logo, before 2004
The current Waitrose logo was designed by Monotype fonts and Interbrand [4] [5], and replaced an older logo (pictured right).

The logo (and its associated font) is used on carrier bags, advertising, letterheads, signs and own brand products (as well as throughout John Lewis stores-John Lewis adopted the same typeface around the same time), however some own brand products still carry the old logo (for example, milk bottles only received the new logo in October 2006). A series of diagonal lines which also represent the John Lewis partnership as a whole, the "tyre tracks", form a major part of the store's branding and can be seen on carrier bags and lorries. Advertising for own brand goods tends to emphasise their uniqueness in comparison to other supermarkets, such as differences in production processes, higher quality or just general uniqueness. Recent marketing has also attempted to portray the chain as more ethical than other supermarkets, especially with regards to Fairtrade produce. It should be noted that the company makes almost no effort to publicise price cuts in the media in the manner of other supermarkets, preferring to advertise them in-store. In addition - outside Waitrose's traditional Southern England heartland - they rarely advertise on television.

Image:Waitroselogo.PNG
Waitrose Current Logo

Waitrose's colours are light green and white. Before 2004, the colours were orange, black and white. Waitrose does not use the colours on most of its own brand products, and, indeed, the packaging style of such products is highly dependent on the section of the store inwhich they are located.

Waitrose has been voted Britain's second favourite retailer, behind their parent company John Lewis. [6], although their market share does not reflect this. While their quality is frequently lauded (even Tesco - not typically one to market on the basis of quality - has run marketing campaigns comparing the quality of their produce to Waitrose's), their pricing is the subject of derision among many, with some perceiving it as being needlessly expensive and/or out of the average person's price range (the British supermarket sector is generally price driven and extremely cut-throat about such things). The company states that they attempt to either match, or better, prices on standard household items, such as milk and bread [7]-in The Grocer's 33 list of common purchases compared against other supermarkets, only Somerfield are more expensive than Waitrose, who are in the region of 10 pence more expensive than the big four chains for each item.

[edit] Goods and services

Waitrose is known for offering services such as the WaitroseEntertaining (formerly 'By Invitation') range of products, which are foods made to order for special occasions. Waitrose also offers a range of other services including home delivery (in areas not served by Ocado), free glass loan and fish kettle service. Waitrose is particularly noted for its wine and beverage selection, and regularly wins awards at The International Wine and Spirit Competition and from publications such as Wine Magazine. Waitrose also has an Internet Service Provider offering, supplying both dial-up and broadband Internet connections from which all profits are donated to charity. Another long term fixture is Waitrose Food Illustrated, an in-store food magazine (free to Partnership/Account card holders and Partners). On October 2nd 2006, a new free magazine, Source, was launched to compliment John Lewis' new Greenbee direct services business.

Most branches have one or two specialists, in wines, meat, fish and cheese to advise customers. They are given training and attend specialist courses, as well as visiting suppliers, to get hands-on experience.

Waitrose sells a large number of own brand goods, but unlike other supermarkets such as Tesco (which stocks a wide variety of own brand clothing, cookware etc) these are mainly food and household cleaning products. There are however larger stores known as Waitrose Food and Home, which stock a selection of John Lewis goods.

In contrast to many other chains, Waitrose does not have an "economy" range or a range of luxury goods, mainly due to its image and market position as an upper/middle-class retailer which does not aim for low price points. Arguably, having such a range would damage Waitrose's brand; given their reputation for quality at all costs, putting their name on explicitly substandard goods could lead to their carefully built brand being dragged downhill. In response to this, some stores stock a few lines at a very low price (below the equivalent Waitrose own-brand product) but not carrying the Waitrose name

In some stores the company offers Quick Check, which allows customers to scan goods while they shop using a handheld scanner and then pay quickly at a special desk. This is only open to holders of an Account Card or the Partnership Card (a credit card which allows customers to earn John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers). The Partnership Card replaced the Account Card, which when used as a payment card ran up a balance to be repaid monthly. Quick Check users (and indeed anyone who wishes to have one) may purchase "trolley bags", large bags made of a synthetic material which can hold lots of items as well as fold down when not needed; essentially a more permanent version of a bag for life. Customers are normally given three trolley bags (including one insulated bag for cold produce) when signing up for the quick check service in-store. The possibility of theft is lessened by the fact that occasional randomly selected Quick Check users are forced to have their goods rechecked at a special checkout rather than going through a Quick Check till in the normal way.

Some British supermarkets offer direct services such as home and travel insurance. Waitrose does not offer these services as the company dominates on food and drink, however the John Lewis Partnership has recently launched a new division, greenbee, whose services are promoted in Waitrose branches. These services do not come under the Waitrose brand and cannot be bought in branches.

[edit] Employment practices

Main article: John Lewis Partnership

As part of John Lewis, all of Waitrose's employees are Partners, part owners of the business. As such, they receive certain benefits, most notably the Partnership bonus, usually around 10-15% of a Partner's yearly salary in a lump sum paid in March. In addition, after three months service Partners receive a yellow shopping card which entitles them to 12% discount in Waitrose and John Lewis Department Stores. After three years service, Partners receive a red shopping card signifying they are entitled to higher rate discount (25%) on goods in John Lewis. Due to lower margins, discount remains at 12% in Waitrose and on electrical goods in the department stores. In a recent decision, the result of John Lewis Direct moving into profitability, the same discounts apply online.

Main focuses of training for new Partners are health & safety, fresh food handling and customer service. Partners are trained to drop whatever they are doing (within reason) upon request from a customer, and also to lead customers asking for the location of a product to the product, and handing it over. Partners will also, on request, carry any amount of shopping (again, within reason; it is quite unlikely they would carry a single bag of shopping unless the person buying it seems entirely incapable of doing so) to a customer's car for free. In 2005 the business introduced a 'Mystery Shopper' programme to score its branches on the service they provide. The mystery shopper grades the branch on its presentation, pricing information, and product availability. In addition, Partners at the service counters, Checkouts and on the shopfloor are asked questions about their products and services to guage the levels of service the branch provides.

The current uniform for male non-management partners is a green shirt with green and grey patterned necktie and grey trousers and optional apron whereas for females the uniform is a heavily patterned blouse and a choice of grey skirt,trousers and optional apron or tabard. Section managers wear white shirts and green jackets. Senior branch management (branch manager and department manager) wear suits. Section managers trained as duty managers sometimes wear suits, this varies between branches.

The employee levels are: non-management partner, assistant section manager (ASM), section manager (SM), department manager (DM), branch manager (BM), Head of Selling Operations (Area Manager), Selling director and finally at the top, the managing director, Steven Esom. Mr Esom reports to the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. In the absence of branch management senior section managers have been trained to duty management level (still referred to as DM although confusion is avoided due to their transient nature).

Waitrose offer many different management courses which are among the best in the retail business. These include the Retail Management Training Scheme (RMT) where school leavers train to become section managers within two years, continuing to become department managers three years later and a Graduate Schemethat sees people achieving department manager level within two years.

[edit] Online shopping

In January 2000 the online food retailer Ocado was launched. The company is 30% owned by the John Lewis Partnership and offers home delivery of Waitrose groceries, ordered through the Internet.

Waitrose also operates its own delivery service, WaitroseDeliver, which is only available in selected stores. Some stores also offer a delivery service - customers complete the shopping instore and is delivered by Waitrose to their home at a convenient time.

[edit] Charitable work

Waitrose's ISP donates all of its profits, less marketing and running costs, to charity. New users choose from a set of different charities to donate to [8] and donations are distributed proportionally.

The supermarket launched the Waitrose Foundation in 2005, providing funds for education, worker facilities and health services among other things for fruit growers in South Africa. They are currently the only supermarket to sell loose Fairtrade bananas, sourced from the Windward Islands (in St Lucia).[9]

All Waitrose branches are able to manage their own charitable donations and local decisions are made on which charities are to be supported.

[edit] External links

Waitrose

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