Waitrose is hoping to extend its reach into rural areas and market towns with plans to roll out a new small-shop format. It will trial the concept, which emphasises local produce and fresh foods, in Cambridgeshire later this month.
The upmarket supermarket chain typically operates in medium-sized shops, but research found that a new design concept was needed to cater for market-town communities.
Waitrose will stock 200% more locally-produced food and drink lines in the stores, and more emphasis will be placed on fresh foods, with over half the shop dedicated to fresh products.
Managing director Mark Price says: “Our brand has traditionally operated most successfully at around 20,000 square foot, but in an increasingly competitive market place the challenge was to develop the potential of smaller shops in our estate. The market town format will allow us to achieve that as well as offering new opportunities to grow the business.”
He adds that its aim will be to reflect the ambience of a traditional grocery shop “by focussing on the sense of community and service associated with our brand”. Waitrose currently has 187 branches across the UK.