Waitrose boss Mark Price said first-half profits would be impacted by “unprecedented investment”. Retail Week looks where it has invested.
Waitrose has invested in 15 new stores in its first half, 11 more than last year. The grocer has far fewer stores than its Big Four rivals so is vying to catch up to win share. It is also plotting up to 10 new ‘little Waitrose’ convenience shops in 2014. The retailer has also completed three major refurbishments over the half in Towcester, Harrogate and Stroud.
Waitrose has been introducing new services including a multi-million pound investment in concierge-style welcome desks in its stores. The desks, which will launch in 100 stores this year, are a response to the changing shopping habits of customers who are increasingly picking up online orders in store. As well as being collection points, the desks will offer flowers and gift wrapping.
Waitrose has also introduced more in-store “hospitality” such as wine-tasting and dry cleaning services and rolled out grocery click-and-collect both in store and in locations such as London Underground stations.
Waitrose has also made a “substantial investment” in its dotcom infrastructure. It has increased capacity for online significantly and has also launched Waitrose Cellar, a specialist online wine offering.
The investment is paying off. Waitrose online sales surged more than 40% over the half.
'Unprecedented investment' to take toll on Waitrose first-half profits
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Analysis: Where has Waitrose made its 'unprecedented investment'?