AS Waitrose today (12th May) opened its fourth and largest Scottish store, the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership also announced plans for a fifth shop in Scotland, in Helensburgh.
The 25,000 sq ft Newton Mearns store represents an expansion by the retailer in Scotland and is part of an ambitious UK-wide growth strategy by the employee-owned supermarket.
The planned new store in Helensburgh – if planning permission is secured – will be the retailer’s first outside the central belt cities. Waitrose will be consulting with local people over the coming weeks and will lodge a planning application later this year.
In a first for Waitrose in Scotland, the Newton Mearns store will offer toys, electrical goods and fashion accessories from its sister company, John Lewis, alongside its extensive food ranges.
The store is also championing local and regional suppliers including several new producers who are supplying Waitrose for the first time.
These include a company that’s literally on the doorstep of the new branch – family-run Just Add Chilli – as well as Mathiesons Foods, We Hae Meats, Argyll Smokery, Belhaven Fruit Farm, Thistly Cross Cider and Claire Macdonald Foods.
They’ll join around 400 Scottish products already stocked by Waitrose, as part of the retailer’s strong commitment to local and regional sourcing.
Of vital importance to Waitrose is the provenance and traceability – buyers typically source products from smaller growers and suppliers, where possible close to individual stores.
There were over 2,000 applicants for the 200 jobs at Newton Mearns, where customers will benefit from the expertise of fish, wine, cheese and meat specialists.
All partners (as Waitrose employees are known because they are partners in the John Lewis Partnership) are co-owners of the business, entitling them to a say in how the business is run and an annual share in its profits from next year.
In March this year, existing partners received 18 per cent of their annual salary in bonus.
Facts and figures:
• The Newton Mearns store will bring the total number of partners at Waitrose and John Lewis in Scotland to 2656.
• Waitrose is now the same price as Tesco on 1,000 branded everyday items; its Price Match commitment tracks prices each week.
• A range of kosher products, including fresh and ambient goods will be available at Waitrose Newton Mearns.
• Food waste from the new branch is being sent to an anaerobic digestion plant. All refrigeration in store is HFC-free.
• The in-store coffee shop seats 46. Customers will be able to choose from a wide range of gourmet and every day fresh dishes, all of which are freshly cooked and prepared on site using ingredients literally off the supermarket shelves in-store.
• Waitrose’s Community Matters scheme starts today – it gives customers a say in how £12,000 a year – £1,000 a month – is spent on local charity projects.
Alison Neilson, deputy manager for Waitrose, Newton Mearns, said:
“Waitrose prides itself on getting to know the communities it operates within and building firm relationship with residents and surrounding businesses alike.
“We want to make sure our customers enjoy the best of local produce that our Scottish suppliers have to offer and we are always keen to hear from new suppliers to add to that offering.”
Mark Price, Waitrose managing director, said:
“We’re delighted to be opening our largest store in Scotland today.
“Waitrose Newton Mearns, together with our plans for a fifth store in Helensburgh, is a further demonstration of our ambitions to make our brand far more accessible to Scottish consumers.
“We’re currently still under represented in Scotland, but our new regional distribution centre in Lancashire will provide a vital platform for future expansion and unlock significant opportunities for us to open more shops in Scotland”
Welcoming Waitrose to Newton Mearns, Vincent Waters, president of the East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said:
“The arrival of Waitrose is a great boost to the retail offering in East Renfrewshire, and will attract people into the area. I’m pleased a business with the strong ethical reputation of the John Lewis Partnership has expanded into our community.”
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Notes to editors
1. Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership. It currently has stores in Morningside and Comely Bank in Edinburgh and Byres Road in Glasgow. John Lewis Partnership currently has 2,456 partners working at Waitrose and John Lewis stores in Scotland. Newton Mearns store will see around 200 more partners join.
2. Waitrose Helensburgh is planned to be built on a site opposite the new Hermitage Academy. The 25,000 ft store will be designed to provide an attractive gateway into the town.
3. Waitrose has 253 shops in the UK and is consistently achieving sales growth significantly ahead of the market. Its strong performance has been driven by the success of the Essential Waitrose range, Brand Price Match (in which 1,000+ branded products are price matched each week against Tesco), an unmatchable top tier of products and free delivery driving rapid online growth, as well as a long term commitment to sourcing the UK’s finest local and regional foods.
4. Waitrose was the first retailer to sign up to The Scottish Government’s Retailers’ Charter as part of its commitment to Scotland, and to fair and honest relationships with suppliers; to encouraging local and regional sourcing and to high animal welfare and environmental standards.
5. Waitrose combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop: it is dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced combined with high standards of customer service. www.waitrose.com
6. In 2009, Waitrose launched ‘essential Waitrose’, a range of hundreds of everyday shopping items at everyday, affordable prices. The Brand Price Match promise was introduced in 2010.
7. Community Matters, the scheme where each branch has £1,000 to donate to local charity through customer voting terminals, has seen around £70,000 donated to nearly 200 good causes through Waitrose Scottish stores over the past four years.
8. Waitrose Newton Mearns uses HFC free refrigeration: Waitrose is the first supermarket to develop this new, propane based refrigeration technology, which uses cold air retrieval instead of air-conditioning and will dramatically reduce its overall carbon footprint by 20 per cent.
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