Waitrose is to launch a new format for villages and market towns, but denied it is planning a national c-store rollout.
The new stores will range in size from 10,000-15,000sq ft, and will focus on fresh food. Each will cater for the individual needs of the town in which it is based, and will dedicate more space to locally sourced food and drink than larger Waitrose stores.
Waitrose managing director Mark Price said that the launch was a result of the increasingly competitive marketplace. "What we've aimed to do is reflect the ambience of a traditional grocery shop by focusing on the sense of community and service associated with our brand. In addition to providing local information and more local produce, we engaged the community in our research to ensure customers feel this is their neighbourhood shop," he said.
The first Market Town store opens in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, on May 16. As many as 100 more stores could follow.