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Waitrose & Partners has launched Waitrose Rapid Delivery, a trial of two hour and same-day delivery. The service is being rolled out in London to selected postcodes.

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The newly rebranded Waitrose & Partners reported gross sales growth of 2.1% to £3.39bn, with like-for-likes up 2.6% for the six months to 28 July 2018.

Profit declined, but the retailer is confident growth will return by year end

Operating profit before exceptional items declined 12.1% to £96.4m in the reporting period. This was due in part to the John Lewis Partnership's greater investment in cyber security and data protection. However, Waitrose & Partners noted improvements from the first to the second quarter, and expects to report positive profit figures by the end of the year. In challenging retail times the John Lewis Partnership reiterated its investment commitments of £400-£500m per year.

"Pleasing" like-for-like performance

The retailer described its 2.6% like-for-like performance as "pleasing" in current market conditions. It hopes to maintain the improving trend   from the first to second quarter into the second half of the year.

Gross sales growth of 2.1% was driven by both value and volume.

Outlook: five areas of focus for Waitrose & Partners

  1. Range reviews: the retailer will carry out on average four range reviews each month between now and the end of the year. Sliced bread and cheese categories have already undergone this process, delivering very encouraging results
  2. Product innovation: this includes realising the benefits from its newly opened Food Innovation Studio and an ongoing focus on private label development
  3. Grow online grocery sales: in the first half of the year Waitrose's online business grew sales by 23%, whilst also delivering profit. The service boosted satisfaction amongst its most loyal customers 
  4. Championing Good Health: Bupa health check trial results are currently being evaluated. Health initiatives introduced in the first half of the year will continue to scale up, such as training in-store Partners to become healthy eating specialists, and the roll-out of the Good Health label on a wider range of products
  5.  Sustainability: By the end of 2018 the retailer will not be using black packaging for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, as it moves towards its long-term sustainability goals

 

IGD Shopper Vista research reveals that 11% of British grocery shoppers are interested in purchasing vegan products, with this number increasingly to 22% amongst 25-34 year olds. We round-up the latest retailer initiatives serving shoppers with plant-based preferences.

Iceland launches vegan labelling

Following the recent expansion of its plant-based range, Iceland is the latest supermarket set to launch a ‘suitable for vegans’ label across its private label offer.

Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are also set to introduce the labelling initiative.

The move will help the growing number of vegan shoppers to navigate in-store ranges.

Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen success

In January, Tesco parented with US-based plant-based innovator Derek Sarno to launch its new plant-based Wicked Kitchen range.

Source: IGD Research

According to Sarno the retailer has sold four million vegan meals in the 33 weeks since the launch.

Waitrose & Partners launches plant-based pizza

Waitrose & Partners has launched two new exclusive vegetable-dough based vegan pizzas, priced at £3.20 for two bases.

Source: Waitrose

According to IGD Shopper Vista research, 45% shoppers are trying to incorporate more fruit and veg into their diets.

The pizzas are available in two varieties, courgette and cauliflower. Each pizza counts as one of your five a day.

Aileen Wood, Waitrose Pizza Buyer commented on the launch, “With the increase in popularity of 'flexitarian' diets and more customers looking for alternative ways to eat fruit and veg, the Magioni pizza crusts are a great way of getting more veg into your diet.

Plant-based supermarket opens in London

A new vegan supermarket has opened in Homerton, east London.

The plant-based supermarket sells a range of vegan products across different categories including food-to-go and frozen.

Source: Plant-based supermarket (from Instagram)

The store provides a one-stop-shop for consumers following a plant-based diet.

Holland & Barrett to expand vegan beauty offer

Holland & Barrett has announced plans to launch its first fully vegan stores.

The health and beauty specialist is looking to increase its vegan beauty offer, using the new vegan-only stores to stock its expanded range.

Want to know more?

Retail analysis subscribers can read and download our 'Healthy living' presentation here.

The John Lewis Partnership's latest activities seek to focus shoppers' attention on what makes the business unique.

New logos emphasise partnership model

John Lewis and Waitrose have added "& Partners" to their names, a move designed to highlight the structure and culture that differentiates them from competitors.

A handful of branches unveiled new logos today including John Lewis Oxford Street and Waitrose Edgware Road. Full roll-out to the estate including all vans and lorries will be phased over several years.

Rob Collins, Waitrose & Partners Managing Director said: “This moment is far more significant than simply adding words and changing the design. It symbolises something bigger, expressing what’s different about our business and signalling our intent to make that difference count for even more.

In the last two years both Co-op and Morrisons have re-designed their logos focusing on what makes them distinctive. This latest news from the Partnership shares similar intent. For all three retailers, the new logos better represent the essence of each business. For Co-op this is its history and its members, with a return to the 1960s design and blue colour scheme. For Morrisons, friendlier font, the tree design as a cue for freshness, and a strapline that highlights its heritage. 

Partners star in latest ad campaign

The retailer has also released a new advert which shines an even brighter spotlight on its Partners. Around two months ahead of the release John Lewis's much-anticipated Christmas advert, this latest campaign blends a memorable soundtrack and beautiful visuals with an emotion-led message: "When you're part of it, you put your heart into it".

Watch the advert here.

Waitrose planning new-look private label packaging

Waitrose announced the private label packaging programme of change will begin in October. The first ranges to showcase the changes will be Waitrose's Christmas products, and its free-from range.

We will update on this news once further information becomes available. 

Want to know more?

Retail Analysis subscribers can download IGD's Strategic outlook for Waitrose report.

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