Managing director Mark Price on a mission to remain fastest-growing grocer and grab market share

Waitrose managing director Mark Price has pledged that the grocer will double sales in a decade and expects to end 2010 as the fastest-growing supermarket for the second year running.

Price, who last night won the coveted Retail Leader of the Year Award at the Oracle Retail Week Awards, wants to take sales from £5bn now to £10bn and increase market share from 4.3% to around 8%.

Price said: “We were the fastest-growing supermarket last year, and we have so much more to come that this year will be another record year for us.

“The economy will give us nothing this year and there will be no easy wins, but our plans are well developed and we’re confident.”

He said Waitrose will continue to “lead on innovation” and focus on becoming “more accessible to more people”. Price will concentrate on store openings, building on Waitrose’s partnership with health and beauty giant Boots, and rolling out new products, including its Duchy Originals by Waitrose range.

Waitrose will open its first smaller convenience store within the next two months. Locations mooted for the 3,000 sq ft shops include Cambridge, Cheam in Surrey, Manchester and Liverpool.

Waitrose wants to open a mix of 10 larger and smaller convenience stores this year, and 30 next year. It will also push ahead with store openings for its full-line and market town format shops with 12 slated for this year.

The Boots deal will mean Waitrose provides a lunchtime offer in Boots stores, four Waitrose shop-in-shops will be tested in larger Boots stores, and Boots will provide health and beauty products in Waitrose shops.

Price said: “There are around 750 Boots stores that sell food, so that is a huge boost to our reach.” He added that if the shop-in-shop trials are a success, he could see “potential for around 200”.

Waitrose will also focus on international growth, which the grocer has “not yet scratched the surface” of. Waitrose has two shops in Dubai, will open in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain this year, and Oman next. Price believes there is potential for 23 stores in Arab countries.

Other regions are also being

considered. Price said: “I’m not convinced we should go with full-line stores in some regions, so we would have to consider what format to roll out.”

He said he is interested in the type of model that Tesco runs in the US for Fresh & Easy, rather than aligning with a partner.

Waitrose also revealed this week that famous chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal will act as food ambassadors for the brand. The duo will star in the grocer’s new ad campaign, breaking on March 15.

They will share their expertise, and tips, and champion certain ingredients. It will be the grocer’s first personality-led campaign.

Price said: “With our top tier sorted with Duchy Originals and our new marketing campaigns, we are well set up for the year.”