The company has decided not to expand as it planned in terms of store numbers. Instead it will invest in its existing estate, which will include new wine bars and bakeries in store. Initial stores planned for this revamp include shops at Barbican, Chandlers Ford and Twyford.
In its latest financial statement its parent company, John Lewis Partnership, reported a drop in profits for both John Lewis and Waitrose, by 31.2% (to £32.4m) and 28.9% (to £96.3m) respectively.
However, while Waitrose’ like-for-like sales (at established stores) fell by 1% they increased by 4.3% for online grocery. And its gross sales did grow by 2.2%. Its share of the market also increased by 5.2% and “on average we had 250,000 more customer transactions a week compared to last year”.
Hospitality sales at Waitrose – which includes its 121 cafes, 81 bakery grazing areas, seven wine bars and nine juice bars – grew by 7.1%, and as a result the company plans to focus more on this area.
The retailer has scrapped plans to open seven new Waitrose supermarkets over the next two years
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose, said: “We have grown gross sales and market share across both Waitrose and John Lewis but our profits are down. This reflects market conditions and, in particular, steps we are taking to adapt the Partnership for the future. These are not as a consequence of the EU referendum result, which has had littles quantifiable impact on sales so far. Instead there are far reaching changes taking place in society, in retail and in the workplace that have much greater implications.”