This is the last post in my series on my recent trip to London. This final post takes a look at Bracknell, Berkshire, England based Waitrose. The upmarket chain of supermarkets and the food division of the British retailer and worker co-operative the John Lewis Partnership. As of January 2011, Waitrose has over 240 branches across the United Kingdom and a 4.2% share of the market, making it the 6th largest grocery retailer in the UK. But perhaps more interestingly it’s a great store.
Unlike other major British supermarkets, Waitrose isn’t owned by shareholders or the City. Instead it is part of the John Lewis Partnership, it’s owned by everyone who works for the Partnership. And every year they share the profits that would normally go to shareholders.
Waitrose holds a Royal Warrant with Her Majesty The Queen. A Royal Warrant is a mark of recognition to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services for at least five years to certain members of the Royal Family. They have always been regarded as a mark of excellence and quality, and are highly prized. Waitrose previously held a longstanding Warrant with Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
Their Private Brand Portfolio is an intriguing mix of classic tiered English Private Brand structure including the “essential Waitrose” value tier brand that uses the now expected simple white-based packaging. The portfolio also includes unique lifestyle based brands like the Pearlfisher created “Love Life.” Celebrity endorsed brands like Heston, by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and Duchy Originals.
In September 2009, Duchy Originals, the struggling organic food business started by Prince Charles was rescued by Waitrose, who has agreed to an exclusive deal to stock the range, and to pay a small fee to charity. In return, Prince Charles has graced a number of Waitrose stores, and dined with senior Waitrose executives and their spouses.In August 2010, the Duchy range was relaunched with many new lines under the Duchy Originals from Waitrose brand.
With consistently great design and products that I really wanted to buy this is the English grocery store that I would most like to shop every week.