company_name = Waitrose Limited
company_type = Employee-owned company

foundation = 1904
location = Bracknell, England , UK
key_people = Mark Price, Managing Director; Tony Solomons, Director of Selling
industry = Supermarket
num_employees = ~40,000
products = Food
revenue = £3.7 billion (profit 11% FY 2005/2006)
owner = John Lewis Partnership
homepage = [http://www.waitrose.com www.waitrose.com]

Waitrose is the supermarket division of the John Lewis Partnership, with 192 branches as of September 2008. Like the partnership's department stores, Waitrose is targeted at the middle class market, emphasising quality food and customer service rather than low prices. Their slogan: "Everyone deserves Waitrose" was chosen to show that everyone deserves their quality food. Waitrose's main competitors in this market are Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's. It currently has a 4% share of the food market, and additionally a 16% and 10% share of the organic food and wet fish markets respectively.

Waitrose stores vary considerably in size. The smallest branch, Temple Fortune, occupies around 7,000 sq feet of retail space and the largest, Southend-on-Sea, over 56,000 sq feet.The average Waitrose occupies a retail space of around 18,000 sq feet.

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


Waitrose was founded in 1904 by Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor, with Taylor leaving in 1906. They opened their first shop ("Waite, Rose and Taylor") at 263 Acton Hill, West London. In 1908, the name "Waitrose" (a portmanteau of the remaining founders' names) was adopted as the company was incorporated. The company (at the time with only 10 shops) was taken over by the John Lewis Partnership in 1937, with the then-160 employees becoming Partners (co-owners of the business). The chain's first supermarket opened in Streatham, London in 1955 - since then, the Waitrose chain has grown to include 192 supermarkets. In 1981 counter service was introduced for fresh meat, fish and cheese, and in 1983 [ [http://www.waitrose.com/food/organics/index.aspx Waitrose - Organics] ] , Waitrose became the first major chain to sell organic food, a move since emulated by Tesco and Sainsbury's among others.


In recent years, the chain has seen a surge in expansion and profits, with a long term goal of having around 400 branches across the UK by 2017 and doubling revenue to £8bn. [IGD Retail Analysis - Waitrose plans to double sales - April 2007 [http://www.igd.com/analysis/news/news_detail.asp?articleid=3794] ] 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.

In August 2005 Waitrose purchased a further five former Safeway stores from Morrison's. 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 store at Biggin Hill, Greater London, from Morrison's.

In March 2006, Waitrose announced the purchase of five additional branches. This was a significant landmark, as it meant that Waitrose opened two branches in Scotland (both in Edinburgh). The stores which were purchased were Comely Bank in Edinburgh, Morningside also in Edinburgh, Balham in South West London, Barbican in the City of London and Buxton in Derbyshire.

In July 2006, Waitrose announced it had purchased another six stores from Morrison's and also a former Safeway regional distribution centre in Aylesford, Kent [ [http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/TemplatePage.aspx?PageType=CAT&PageID=90] ] expanding Waitrose to 182 stores. The six stores which were rebranded into Waitrose are located at Hexham in Northumberland, Eastbourne in East Sussex, Formby in Merseyside, Parkstone in Poole, Dorset, Lymington in Hampshire and Portswood in Southampton, Hampshire. In total, Waitrose have purchased 31 stores from Morrison's and 16 from Somerfield.

In 2007 four new Waitrose branches opened, the first of which opened in Harborne in Birmingham. This was followed by Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester in July. There are also plans to extend and refurbish a number of branches. Waitrose hopes to double its revenue by 2016, by introducing much more aggressive price cuts Fact|date=June 2007 and rapid expansion into the north of the UK. South Manchester, in particular, has been listed as an opportunity for Waitrose, with Didsbury cited as being the most likely area for it to be constructed [cite web|url=http://www.talkingretail.com/news/6742/Tesco-still-has-opportunity-fo.ehtml|title=Tesco still has opportunity for growth|accessdate=2007-10-08] .Another branch was built and was opened in Ampthill, Bedfordshire in September 2007, replacing a Budgens store.In November 2007, another Waitrose branch in the South at College Town, Sandhurst, Berkshire, was opened, occupying store space formerly occupied by Safeway/Morrisons and also a newly built branch in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. March 2008 saw 3 branches purchased from Budgens, in Buckingham, Bayswater, in West London and Bourne, in Lincolnshire. However, the store in Bourne will not be converted into a Waitrose and will be sold on.

As of July 2008, Waitrose has confirmed plans to open 12 new branches, including Cardiff (Pontprennau), Chester, Crewkerne, Kenilworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Stratford (Stratford City), White City (Westfield London) and Winchester. The group is currently seeking planning consent to open further stores at Ashford, Kent (on the site of the old Templer Barracks), Colchester, East Cowes, Gerrards Cross, Hale Barns, Meanwood in Leeds, Poynton near Macclesfield, Stowmarket, Trowbridge, Egham, Hammersmith, Raynes Park and Wimborne Minster and has entered into agreement to purchase four branches in Chiswick, Clapham, Edgware Road and Islington from Woolworths.

UK market share

According to TNS Worldpanel, Waitrose's share of the UK grocery market in 2007 was 4.0%, up 0.1% on 2006.

There have been concerns expressed by members of the Guild of Fine Food retailers that Waitrose is competing with quality independent grocers and farmers' markets, more than other supermarkets [Guardian, July 2007: 'Forget Tesco: the bigger threat to small shops may be Waitrose' http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jul/03/shopping.business] .

Overseas expansion

Waitrose has entered into a licensing agreement with Spinneys of Dubai, United Arab Emirates to open three purpose built branches by October 2008. Spinneys will convert 20 of their own stores to the Waitrose format by 2010.


Waitrose branches are mainly located in the south-east of England and in the London areas. The chain only has three branches in the south west of England, four in Wales, twelve branches in the north of England, and just two branches are located in Scotland (both in Edinburgh). In the countryside most Waitrose stores are located in towns with smaller populations rather than in towns with larger populations and also branches tend to be located in areas where there is affluence.

In June 2008, Waitrose announced the acquisition of 4 Woolworths store sites [ [http://money.aol.co.uk/money-news/waitrose-buys-up-woolworths-sites/article/20080618045609990005 Waitrose buys up Woolworths sites - Money News - AOL Money ] ] for conversion to Waitrose branches in Chiswick, Clapham, Edgware Road (Marylebone) and Islington.

Branches are usually finished with white walls (in stark contrast to more colourful stores such as Sainsbury's). Much attention is paid to the lighting with halogen spots in key areas such as service counters, fruit and vegetables and wines. 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 irregular customer announcements. Cages (trolleys for holding large amounts of stock, usually around 6 ft high) are used on the shop floor, and Partners also use smaller, more navigable stock trolleys. New (or refitted) Waitrose stores usually have a customer service ("welcome") desk separate from a kiosk or checkout. Waitrose have recently changed the format of 2 stores in Central London to "Clearwater" branches, these involve at total refurbishement, new product lines as well as a streamlined assortment. Surbiton, Surrey will be the next branch to convert to the Clearwater format early in 2009.



*Best High Street Retailer for Customer Service (Which?) [ [http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=59657 Waitrose and John Lewis named top of the shops by Which?] ]
*UK's Favourite Retailer (Verdict Research) [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6429627.stm Waitrose is UK's favourite shop] ]
*Multiple Retailer of the Year (Re:Fresh) [ [http://www.refresh.eu/index.php?zr=07win Re;Fresh Awards Winners 2007] ]
*Best Business Initiative (Re:Fresh) [ [http://www.freshinfo.com/index.php?s=n&ss=nd&sid=42254 Sainsbury's double winner at retail awards] ]
*Seafood Multiple Retailer of the Year (Seafood Awards) [ [http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/7059/A_night_of_celebration_for_Seafood_Award_winners_.htmlA night of celebration for Seafood Award winners] ]
*Best Animal Welfare Practice (RSPCA) [ [http://www.rspcagoodbusinessawards.com/supermarkets.html RSPCA Good Business Awards 2007] ]
*Best Supermarket [for Wines] (Decanter World Wine Awards) [ [http://www.winedine.co.uk/page.php?cid=1067&PHPSESSID=ab36202350b5 Decanter World Wine Awards gives Waitrose Top Accolade] ]


*Multiple Retailer of the Year (Re:Fresh) [ [http://www.refresh.eu/index.php?zr=06win Re:Fresh Awards Winners 2006] ]

Marketing and perception

The current Waitrose logo was designed by Monotype fonts and Interbrand, [ [http://www.monotypefonts.com/Contact/Team.asp?show=design&
] [ [http://www.interbrand.com/portfolio_details.asp?portfolio=2239 Interbrand | Waitrose | Waitrose | Brand | Brands, Full Branding Services for Clients ] ] and replaced an older logo (pictured right).

Advertising for Waitrose tends to emphasise the chain's uniqueness in comparison to other supermarkets, such as differences in production processes, higher quality products or the expertise of their partners (staff). 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 until very recently the company has made 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 south of England heartland — it rarely advertises on television.

Waitrose has been voted Britain's favourite retailer, ahead of their sister company John Lewis, [ [http://www.johnlewis.com/Help/Help.aspx?HelpId=4#John Customer Services - More About Us - John Lewis ] ] who came second in the survey. [ [http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/consumer/article.html?in_article_id=418224&in_page_id=5 Waitrose is UK’s favourite shop | This is Money ] ] Similarly to John Lewis, the company has a 'Price Commitment' policy, in which it either matches, or betters, prices on over 350 everyday items, such as milk, bread and toothpaste [ [http://www.waitrose.com/about/waitrosedifference/index.asp The Waitrose difference - Our company - Waitrose.com ] ] . In "The Grocer's" 33 list of common purchases compared against other supermarkets, only Somerfield are more expensive than Waitrose, which is in the region of 10 pence more expensive than the big four chains for each item.Fact|date=March 2007

Waitrose does not have an "economy" or "value" range. However, some branches stock lower priced lines not bearing the Waitrose name and below the corresponding Waitrose-branded product.

It has been noted by various food writers (as reported on Radio 4's "Food Programme"), that Waitrose is the only supermarket that will illustrate the animal from which the meat product in the pack has come from; for example a pig illustrated on a pack of sausages.

In 2007 all Waitrose branches were decorated for the festive season for the first time. This included window decorations, hanging signs, Christmas aprons for shopfloor partners and real Christmas trees in branches.

It was announced on 20 May 2008 that Waitrose would be sponsoring Reading F.C. for the 2008-09 season. They have the option of extending this deal at the end of the season.

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, 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, which was recently rated 'Best ISP Provider' in a 'Which?' survey. It supplies 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 2 October 2006, a new free magazine, "Source", was launched to complement John Lewis' new Greenbee direct services business.

Most branches have one or two specialists, in wines, meat, fish and cheese, to advise customers and help train other members of staff. 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. Some stores stock a selection of John Lewis-branded goods.

Partners, on request, will carry any amount of shopping to a customer's car for free (this service is predominantly used by elderly or disabled people, who can find it difficult to push a trolley to their car. However, it is also used by people who purchase an unusually large amount of shopping, and therefore need help pushing a second trolley). Partners will also unload shopping to a customer's car if asked.

In some branches the company offers "Quick Check", which allows customers to scan goods while they shop using a handheld scanner (Model: Symbol PSS) and then pay quickly at a special desk. This service was originally open only to holders of an Account Card (John Lewis' former charge card, since discontinued) or the Partnership Card (a credit card which allows customers to earn John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers), but recently all branches have been opened up to people with a standard credit or debit card. The possibility of theft is lessened by the random checking ("rescanning") of customers' shopping.

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.

Good Employment practices

As part of the John Lewis Partnership, all of Waitrose's employees are "Partners", co-owners of the business. As such, they receive certain benefits, most notably the Partnership bonus, usually around 10–20% of a Partner's yearly salary in a lump sum paid in March (the highest bonus percentage in recent years has been 22%). The annual partnership bonus for 2008 was 20% which is the approximate equivalent of 10 weeks pay. 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 one year's service, Partners receive a red shopping card signifying they are entitled to higher rate discount (25%) on most goods in John Lewis, previously requiring 3 years' service. 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 and safety, fresh food handling, fire safety 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. 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 and on the service the branch provides at its service counters, checkouts, wine department and shop floor. During 2008 Waitrose will be training its partners in its new programme 'fresh on service' which aims to lift core service standards and continue to make the business stand out from its competitors.

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, Assistant Section Managers and Acting ASMs wear white shirts, grey trousers and can chose to wear green blazer style jackets. Senior branch management (branch manager and department manager) wear suits. Section managers trained as duty managers will wear suits whilst acting as the most senior manager in the branch. Waitrose will launch a new uniform for all partners in 2009, this is expected to be black consisting of a black shirt, trousers/skirt and apron for all partners. This will be similar to the John Lewis Oxford Street Food Hall uniform. It is expected that ties will be made optional.

The employee levels in selling branches are: non-management Partner, third hand (TH) assistant section manager (ASM), section manager (SM), department manager (DM) and branch manager (BM). Above BMs are ten area managers known as Head of Retail Operations (HoROs), working with Registrars who are impartial of management and seek to safeguard the constitution which underpins the Partnership, then the two regional directors (north & south), the director of retail and finally at the top, the managing director, Mark Price. Price reports to the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Charlie Mayfield. Waitrose offer many different management courses, including 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 [http://www.waitrose.com/graduates Graduate Scheme] that sees people achieving department manager level within two years.Waitrose also offer industrial placement schemes for students studying a 4 year sandwich degree. This gives them the opportunity to work in Branch leading to a section manager role within the year. They also offer limited placements at their head office in Bracknell; this gives students valuable experience in departments such as Buying, Marketing and Personnel.

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. The Ocado service is only available to certain areas of Britain. Ocado uses a central warehouse to service their deliveries.

Waitrose also operates its own delivery service, WaitroseDeliver, which is only available in selected stores. This also offers home delivery of Waitrose groceries ordered through the Internet but is serviced from the local branch. Some stores also offer a delivery service — customers complete the shopping instore and is delivered by Waitrose to their home at a convenient time.

The WaitroseDeliver platform also hosts the online ordering system for Waitrose's special order food and cakes service "WaitroseEntertaining" [https://www.waitrosedeliver.com/wdeliver/app/shop?op=wtrEntertaining&siteCode=BI&source=32129] which runs alongside the catalogue available in branch of the same name.

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 [ [http://www.waitrose.com/web_access/raisemoneyforcharity/index.asp Raising money for charity - Internet access from Waitrose - Waitrose.com ] ] 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. After being the first supermarket in the country to sell loose Fairtrade bananas, most of Waitrose's vegetable varieties also include organic varieties. [ [http://www.waitrose.com/food_drink/foodexpertise/advert/bananas.asp Fairtrade - Origin of our food - Food - Waitrose.com ] ] In addition, 90% of the chain's roses are Fairtrade. [ [http://www.waitrose.com/shopping/homeandhousehold/blossomandbloom/sourcingourflowers/fairtrade.aspx - Waitrose site, "Fairtrade Roses, a better deal for rose growers in the developing world ] ]

All Waitrose branches are able to manage their own charitable donations and local decisions are made on which charities are to be supported. This is a system called 'Community Matters', where customers use green tokens to choose who they want money to be donated to. Every month, each Waitrose branch donates £1,000 to three local charities or good causes. After each and every customer transaction, they will be given a green token at the checkouts. They are then instructed to post it into one of three boxes. There are three chosen local charities, chosen by the partners themselves, which are changed every month. Customers can also nominate a charity, which partners then decide upon.


External links

* [http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk John Lewis Partnership]
* [http://www.waitrose.com Waitrose]
* [http://www.waitrosedirect.co.uk Waitrose Wines Direct]
* [http://free-isp.waitrose.com Waitrose Internet]
* [http://www.waitrosedeliver.com WaitroseDeliver]
* [http://www.ocado.com Ocado]
* [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/29/arts/tyler30.php Food retail wars rend a London neighborhood] Article from the "International Herald Tribune" about Waitrose
* [http://www.greenbee.com Greenbee — Direct Services from the John Lewis Partnership]
* [http://opening-times.co.uk/groups/waitrose Waitrose Opening Times]

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