Waitrose swings the axe on more stores, putting 440 jobs at risk

Waitrose will swing the axe on five more supermarkets, it said today, putting 440 jobs at risk. 

The stores set for closure are: Torquay, Teignmouth, Blaby in Leicestershire, Barry in Vale of Glamorgan and Ashbourne in Derbyshire. The sites will be sold to rival retailers, the grocer said. 

It is the second wave of Waitrose store closures in the last year after the firm said in June it was closing four of its convenience shops and one small supermarket. 

Ocado and Waitrose will end their 20-year partnership next year. Ocado has penned a deal with Waitrose rival M&S instead

Online sales spiked 24 per cent last week, he said, as news of the Ocado and M&S partnership alerted shoppers to Waitrose’s in-house platform.  

Collins added that, unlike some of its rivals, Waitrose’s online delivery platform was profitable because it focused on basket sizes that are ‘nicely north’ of £100. 

The grocer, which has around 350 shops, plans to open a new fulfilment centre to support growing volumes in the London area. 

GlobalData analyst Thomas Brereton said: ‘With its partnership with Ocado set to end, Waitrose are now looking to stand on its own two feet in online food retail, a logical strategy given the overall online grocery market’s 9.3 per cent growth in 2018.’

Brereton added that, ‘despite the enduring turmoil in the premium food space,’ Waitrose has rebounded through ‘inventive product innovation’, including rapid expansion of its free-from and vegan ranges. 

Its other innovation has been ‘impressively outside the box,’ he said. This included robotic farming, agricultural AI and aeroponic instore displays.