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Waitrose & Partners announces a new collaboration with Today Development Partners (TDP) as it seeks to treble the size of its online grocery business.

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Waitrose & Partners is extending its in-home unattended delivery service, While You’re Away, following a successful initial trial.

Successful pilot

In October 2018, Waitrose became the first UK retailer to deliver groceries through in-home unattended delivery. The retailer’s While You’re Away service was initially trialled with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its dotcom fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, South London. Due to positive customer feedback, Waitrose is extending the current trial to 1,000 customers.

The shopper can grant access to the delivery driver using Yale smart lock technology, by setting a temporary access code for the lock, which is then sent to Waitrose via a secure app. The driver receives this code at the time the customer has booked the delivery and is deleted once complete.

Increase in unattended in-home delivery

Shoppers’ expectations are continuously increasing when it comes to getting the goods they want in a quick, and convenient way. During 2018, we saw numerous leading global retailers trialling unattended in-home delivery services. Along with Waitrose, Edeka, Albert Heijn, Walmart, Amazon, and ICA have all trialled delivery this way in their respective markets.

IGD’s ShopperVista research tells us that in-home unattended deliveries appeal to 1-in-5 British online shoppers, rising significantly among younger shoppers who are more comfortable with the security of this technology. There is a significant amount of trust required on the behalf of the shopper to sign up to such trials. If retailers are able to deliver the goods, shoppers are likely to build more loyalty with a retailer as trust and the convenience of the service builds.

Want to know more?

We present seven case studies from around the world of retailers that are driving forward with unattended in-home delivery in our Retail Analysis report here.

Find out how online shoppers want their groceries delivered in our The last mile – what do shoppers want? report on our ShopperVista service.

A roundup of five latest news stories from Waitrose & Partners: sustainable packaging innovations, the launch of a new at home spirits sampling service, exporting to international markets, an update on counter performance, and the latest seasonal innovation.

Experimental new packaging solutions

In collaboration with Scottish biotec company CuanTec, Waitrose is working on a new film for food packaging made out of waste langoustine shells. The retailer aims for this to be used as an alternative to plastic film on some of its fish products in the next 12-18 months. The plastic film cannot currently be recycled, reused or composted. Therefore finding new solutions will be vital in helping Waitrose reach its ambition of ensuring all own label packaging can be disposed of in these ways by 2023.

Waitrose was introduced to CuanTec as part of its JLAB retail innovation programme.

At home gin tasting experience

In May Waitrose will launch a new gin tasting experience: "Gin O'Clock". This is an extension of its Wine tasting at Home service. The two hour experience includes five types of gin paired with Fever-Tree tonics. It can be hosted at home or in a hired room or event space, and is led by a Waitrose & Partner specialist. The cost is £400 for 6-10 people.

Waitrose is increasing utilising its Partners' expertise to offer personalised advice to shoppers. This includes hosting events at its Cookery Schools and offering advice on healthier choices to shoppers in its stores.

Double digit counter growth 

In its weekly trading update on 9th April, Waitrose highlighted double digit sales on its meat counters, up over 20% YoY for that week.

Earlier this year the retailer introduced signs to encourage its shoppers to bring reusable containers to purchase products from its counters.

Waitrose also continues to introduce innovative new products to its counter ranges, including Hot Cross Bun flavoured Wensleydale cheese in time for Easter.

New agreement to export to Kuwait

Waitrose & Partners will directly supply City Centre hypermarkets in Kuwait. Almost 100 products from its essentials, Duchy Original, Waitrose & Partners Free From, and Waitrose 1 own brand ranges will be included. The supply will be direct to the retailer, rather than through a distributor.

Easter innovation

Waitrose has unveiled an innovative selection of own brand Easter eggs:

  • Its  long-standing collaboration with experimental chef Heston Blumenthal includes a chocolate scotch egg, and chocolate teapot complete with chocolate "sugar cubes" and "tealeaves"
  • Premium range Waitrose 1 offers a choice of diamond shaped, shimmering eggs
  • Last year's popular avocado chocolate egg, the best selling in Waitrose's history, is also available in baby avocado size this year

Coinciding with Fairtrade Fortnight, Waitrose announced a new commitment that 100% of cocoa in its own brand confectionery would be Fairtrade.

Retail Analysis subscribers can read about the latest Easter trends in our upcoming report.

Growth slowed to 1.4% in the 12 weeks to 24th March, according to Kantar. This makes it the slowest growth rate since March 2018. Inflation edged up from 1.4% to 1.5% causing implied volumes to dip into negative territory. We look at the results in more detail.

Seasonal changes impact growth

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit challenges have mainly come for retailers from changes to the timing of seasonal events. Retailers have been impacted by Easter being much later in 2019, falling on the 19th April, compared to the 1st April in 2018. Mothers Day also fell outside this period on 31st March, compared to 11th March in 2018. This impacts the Big Four in particular, who rely more heavily on these events to boost to trading.

Asda becomes the second largest retailer

Asda has overtaken Sainsbury's and become the retailer with the second largest market share, at 15.4%, compared to Sainsbury's at 15.3%. Asda sales continue to grow, albeit at a marginal rate of 0.1%. However this is positive, especially when compared to Sainsbury's whose sales were down -1.8% year-on-year.

However, these results do not show the full picture. Sainsbury's is still ahead of Asda in terms of total sales. The sales measured by Kantar only cover food and grocery, but not Argos and Habitat.

Helping to drive Asda's recovery is the retailer's success in reaching more quality seeking shoppers, with investments in fresh produce and its own brand offer broadening its appeal to more affluent demographics. To see how Asda is transforming the in-store experience, check back soon on our Asda hub to see our store visit report to newly remodelled Asda Patchway.

Divergent promotional trends at Waitrose and Tesco

Waitrose saw its strongest growth since August 2018, at 1.3%. This was driven by the retailer reducing its promotional activity and focusing more on full price sales.

Waitrose's scaling back of promotions contrasts with Tesco whose deal penetration reached 40.1% in Kantar's data.  Overall however promotions in the grocery market are at the lowest they have been in a decade.

Tesco full year results will be reported on our Tesco hub on April 10th.

Fastest growth from discounters

The discounters seem to be unaffected by the seasonal date changes and growth remains strong. Particularly for Aldi which was the fastest growing retailer at 10.6%, reaching a record market share of 8%.

This period saw Aldi launch a new banner, Aldi 'Local'. The retailer has said this is not a move into the convenience sector. As expansion in city centres and particularly London, is often difficult for discounters, innovation in small formats gives them more opportunity to grow presence in these areas and target shoppers on different missions.

Lidl also continues to grow, as the second fastest retailer, at 5.8%. This was a 0.4pp increase on the 12 weeks up to February 24th.

This means the two discounters’ overall market share is now 13.6%.

Co-op and Ocado launch new online services

Growth at Co-op, at 3.9% and Ocado at 5.5% remains strong, despite disruption caused by the recent fire at its Andover CFC. We have recently seen both retailers look to move into online 'top-up' shopping.

Co-op has launched its first online delivery service. It is initially available to shoppers within a 2.5 mile radius of a Co-op store on the Kings Road in Chelsea, with plans to be rolled out to a further eight stores in London, and if successful, the rest of the UK.

Ocado has launched a new one hour delivery service called Ocado Zoom which is available in selected postcodes in West London.

Other retailers

  • Morrisons growth has stagnated, with sales down -0.1%. This is the first time it has had negative results since December 2016. The retailer has been attracting more shoppers however, has seen a decline in basket size and Kantar's numbers do not include Morrisons fast growing sales through wholesale partners, including McColl's and Amazon. Read our new strategic outlook for Morrisons to find out more about its recent annual results plans for 2019.
  • Iceland saw sales growth of 0.6%, maintaining its market share of 2.1%.


12 weeks to
25th March 2018

12 weeks to
24th March 2019

Sales growth

Tesco 27.6 27.4 0.5%
Sainsbury's 15.8 15.3 -1.8%
Asda 15.6 15.4 0.1%
Morrisons 10.4 10.3 -0.1%
Aldi 7.3 8.0 10.6%
Co-op 6.0 6.1 3.9%
Lidl 5.3 5.6 5.8%
Waitrose 5.0 5.0 1.3%
Iceland 2.1 2.1 0.6%
Ocado 1.2 1.3 5.5%
Other Multiples 1.8 1.8 2.7%
Symbols & Independents 1.7 1.7 0.6%




IGD Tesco Business Update 2019

8 May, London

Dave Lewis and his leadership team invite you to a crucial supplier event to help you stay close to Tesco’s strategic vision in its centenary year.

Find out more »


Following its latest annual results, we explore how the UK grocer Waitrose & Partners is making its business fit for the future.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Waitrose.

Kantar market shares are generated using Kantar Worldpanel’s till-roll scanning methodology and extrapolated using a sample of 30,000 households. Figures are calculated over a rolling 12 week period and include VAT.
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Following its latest annual results, we explore how the UK grocer  Waitrose & Partners is making its business fit for the future.

This in-depth guide to the United Kingdom explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Waitrose.

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