Waitrose is the latest of the big supermarkets to enter the convenience market with the opening of the first example of its new store format.

The 3,000sq ft Waitrose store in the centre of Cambridge is part of the retailer's plan, announced last year, to open up to 300 small and medium-sized stores in the next 10 years (Convenience Store, October 2, 2009).

The new format has a different focus to its medium-sized 6,000 -7,000sq ft stores, Waitrose spokeswoman Liana Griffths told C-Store, with a "dramatically different" layout which is intended to enable shoppers to find the products they want as quickly as possible.

"Food to eat now such as sandwiches, salads, fruit and deli products will be positioned at the entrance, while food to eat later and other essentials will be at the rear," Griffths added. "Shelves are also positioned to carry as much stock as possible it's amazing just how much we have managed to get in," she added.

Stores will also feature a significant amount of bold signage to help speed up the buying process and encourage customers to try new recipes.

The group is looking to match independent stores' close connection with the community by introducing its Community Matters scheme, which donates regular sums of money to local charities selected by local people. The target for the new store is to donate £500 a month.

"The scheme will make a real difference to the communities in which we operate we have always thought of ourselves as a true community retailer," Griffiths added.

The store is currently unable to sell alcoholic drinks due to local licensing rules.

Waitrose's arrival in Cambridge has angered next- door neighbour Ish Rattan, whose Best-One store shares the same landlord.

"It's selling tobacco and newspapers so I'm really worried about its impact on my trade," he told C-Store. "What's annoyed me most is the total lack of courtesy shown in not informing me of the plans."

Ish said that he will be withholding his rent payments until he receives an explanation.