Waitrose Cheam 559 opened on 8th July 2010.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time.
Cheam, the latest addition to our convenience store portfolio, opened its doors for the first time last week [8th July 2010], to the sheer delight of local residents.
‘The passion for the Waitrose brand here is unbelievable – I’ve never known anything like it,’ said Store Manager Ceira. ‘People were already queuing for 20 minutes before we opened at 7am on the first day and then we had a steady stream all day of the most enthusiastic customers I have ever come across. I went to a local coffee shop this morning and was stopped by at least four customers saying ‘Thank goodness you’ve opened, we’re so excited.’
At 4,800 square feet the shop is our smallest of our ‘large’ convenience stores and is the first one only to have a bakery counter, not meat and fish as well. Its Hot Food offer, which incorporates Time of Day offering customers all three meal options, has already proved extremely popular. ’They like the fact they can get their breakfast, lunch and dinner hot here. That’s really intrigued them,’ added Ceira.
Ceira who was DMCS at Westfield before and has been a Partner for nearly six years, said her new branch was very different from Westfield. ‘The one thing that’s fairly similar is that there’s a high customer count with a small basket, but people here are using it for their local daily as well as weekly shop, so not just food for now,’ she said. ‘On opening day we were seeing all areas being shopped, with four-pint bottles of milk, bigger sellers than one-pint bottles which is unusual in a convenience store. Fruit and Veg and Fresh Foods also saw really big sales.’
She moved to Cheam for the convenience opportunity, ‘Not only was it a great chance to run my own shop, but I believe convenience is at the cutting edge of where the business is going at the moment and I’m really passionate about being involved in the trial and a concept that’s very different from the core estate.’
Of the 57 partners in the branch, all are brand new except three who have transferred. ‘ They are all really passionate about the brand and really engaged – very keen to learn and enjoying how busy we are. They are really a good bunch of Partners,’ said Ceira.
Food Service Partner, Sarah is one of the new recruits, ‘It’s been really good fun so far – it was a bit frantic [on opening day] with everyone getting to grips with what we’re doing, but it was really good,’ she said. ’The team’s great – almost everyone’s new, so we’ve just been pulling together and getting everything done. Customer feedback has been amazing – one man came up to me yesterday when I was doing some tastings made in the branch and said, ‘We’ve waited 27 years for this Waitrose!’
It’s been really well received by everyone,’ concluded Sarah.
Vol 70 No 28