Waitrose.com launches expansion plan in preparation for its split from Ocado

Waitrose & Partners is starting a national online roll-out programme this week – adding its Waitrose.com online delivery service to 24 more of its supermarkets across the country.

The grocery retailer said the shops are strategically placed to handle increased demand for its online shopping service, in preparation for its split from Ocado.

From September 1, Ocado is going to lose the right to sell any Waitrose products, so Waitrose food and drink will exclusively be available online on Waitrose.com.

Currently 150 of the retailer’s 338 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands cover deliveries across the country, with 84% of UK postcodes able to order Waitrose.com shopping.

The Hailsham branch in East Sussex is the first of 24 to be receiving a Waitrose.com service for the first time over the coming months.

Work is also under way to increase the order capacity of the current online shops which comprise grocery service Waitrose.com and specialist services waitrosecellar.com for wine and waitroseflorist.com for plants and flowers. In addition, a new Customer Fulfilment Centre is due to open in Enfield in the coming months to respond to a surge in demand in the capital.

Waitrose digital director Ben Stimson said: “September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we’re investing heavily to achieve it. We’re not starting from scratch – Waitrose.com is growing significantly ahead of the market and we already deliver to tens of thousands of customers each week, added to the millions who visit our shops.

“We have robust plans in place to extend our reach ahead of September. We have significant investment planned for the coming months across our infrastructure, website and service – creating more delivery slots and employing a fleet of new drivers.

“And adding online capability to these 24 more of our shops will mean we can reach even more of the country. Our teams at head office are working across our website and apps to make our service better, faster and more convenient. And our chefs and product developers will be launching or redeveloping more than 5,000 of our own-label products this year.

“We are well prepared for the boost in demand and capacity has already been tested with our busiest ever online order week – the week before Christmas in 2019.”

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