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We road test the new Waitrose

Simon Binns thinks other supermarket chains should be afraid, very afraid

Written by . Published on November 5th 2010.

We road test the new Waitrose

It’s here. The first proper Waitrose to hit Manchester city centre opened on Spinningfields this week, so I took myself off there to check out its first day and buy a few treats for the office.

First impressions?
It’s a big, imposing store although I’m not sure the chain-smoking hordes outside the Crown Court are the ideal backdrop.

Once inside, it’s light, bright and to be honest, I got a bit overwhelmed by the sight of all the tasty, unhealthy convenience foods retailers normally stick in these types of stores.

What’s in there?
They’ve got all the usual stuff – ready meals, fresh pizza and pasta, a fine range of cakes (plum tart caught my eye) and a decent stack of booze, including their own-branded organic wines, beers, cider and perry.

Was it busy?
Yep, and full of your key Waitrose demographic – 30-50 year-olds in business dress and the few of your younger office workers looking for a lunchtime sandwich.

What did we buy?
Dark chocolate and ginger biscuits and chocolate tiffins. Both absolutely delicious, especially with a mug of tea. Proper biscuits for chocolate lovers.

Will it do well?
I’ll say. The store is laid out in a u-shape leading you nicely around stuff-you-want-for-your-tea-tonight to stuff-you-want-now, through to baked good and biscuits (stuff-you-know-you-shouldn’t-buy-but-do-anyway) and the last-minute wine and flowers for your significant others.

All the staff seem, young, smiley and helpful, and the chap on my till was honest enough to admit he’d made a few mistakes on his first day. Haven’t we all?

It knocks the spots of any Tesco or Sainsbury’s I’ve seen in the city centre; whereas Co-op’s look nice but often have a limited range of products. If they can keep it looking as clean and tidy as its first day, it’s a great addition to the city centre.

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EARL OF DIDSBURYNovember 7th 2010.

This is a great store now we just need a Booths in the city centre.

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