Waitrose Clifton 834 opened 19th March 2009.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time.
Our second convenience format opened last week in Clifton, Bristol.
“It was great to see the looks on people’s faces as they came in” said Store Manager Dafydd. ‘Customer feedback has been very positive’ said Adam, Supermarket assistant, Checkouts and Replenishment. ‘On checkouts, I make a point of asking customers what they think, and a lot of them are local and say how brilliant it is that it’s opened as it saves them a journey”.
‘We’ve had lots of people coming to have a look and get a feel for what we do.’ Said Assistant Store manager Eleanor. ‘We’ve got some customers who already know the Waitrose offer, and others who are not familiar with it.’
The 6800 sq. ft branch is in a building known as The Pavilion in the centre of this Bristol suburb. It follows our Trinity Square convenience branch in Nottingham which opened in December 2008.
Apart from some new products, it has the same offer and the same fixtures and fittings as Trinity Square – including the very popular Time of Day counter and the working bakery area which are exclusive to our convenience format.
Clifton is a trial for a branch that’s already close to an existing Waitrose – it’s a mile away from a very successful branch, Westbury Park. Anthony, Head of Convenience, explained ‘Our convenience test put the same store offer into a number of sites to discover how it performs in different areas and circumstances. Here we’re testing how we can use convenience stores to increase our overall share of a market where Waitrose has always been popular.’
Clifton is located in a former Fresh and Wild store. It took 14 weeks to turn the space into a Waitrose. ‘The challenge has been to produce a building that works for partners and customers on the shopfloor as well as for Partners behind the scenes whilst operating within a very tight budget,’ said Anthony. ‘The design and build teams have done a great job here.’
The branch has 60 Partners, almost all of whom are brand new. ‘I’m completely new to retail, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far,’ said Brian, Supermarket Assistant Checkouts and Replenishment. ‘I get on very well with my team, and we all help each other out if there are any problems. Opening Day went well. I’d never done this type of work before, but I enjoyed it.’
On the first day of trade the shop was buzzing within minutes of the doors being opened.’ It was a tough day, but incredibly enjoyable – I would say it was my best day in the partnership so far’, said Dafydd. ‘Customer feedback was fantastic as soon as we opened. It was great to see all the training come together and seeing Partners instantly being able to serve customers competently with great levels of customer service and be buoyant and full of energy. It was great to be able to lead that team.’
Dafydd was previously DMCS at Bath for 18 months and has been a Partner for almost 3 years. He moved to Clifton because it was something completely new. ‘It’s not only new for Waitrose, but also for the retail sector’ he said. ‘The products we’re offering, the space, the light, the cleanliness, the customer service – no one else is doing that within the convenience sector at the moment
‘Clifton opened in fine style. It’s a little, quality gem of Waitrose. Convenience with a difference.’ Said Geoff, HORO Group G. ‘It has traded very well in its first week, beating its sales budget. Our customers were delighted with our new format offer. It has been very busy in this multicultural city centre location, with lunchtimes and evenings particularly busy as customers shopped for the next 24 to 48 hours. The Partners were thrilled and proud with what they had achieved together.”
Chronicle Vol 69. No 13
28th March 2009