Waitrose plans to open more in-store wine bars

16 September, 2016

Waitrose will be expanding its ‘try before you buy’ strategy by investing in more wine bars within its stores.

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.”




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Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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