As others cut their ranges, Waitrose says it remains committed to offering choice, quality and variety – and as its average price is around £2 higher than the market, it seems to be working.
Other merchandising initiatives have seen new point of sale formats such as the Showcase, featuring a streamlined selection outside the main wine aisle to tempt consumers to buy wines, and greater use of in-store tastings.
Range-wise, it continues to build in interest, such as promoting regionality in Australia and boosting its flagging Burgundy section. It saw shopper uplift on the back of its Italian offers, and fine wine has also gone more upmarket, with £12-£15 wines “demoted’ into its core lines and a higher percentage of wines priced at the £25 bracket added, because of customer demand.
Waitrose was one of the first to get behind English sparkling wine (it now lists more than 100), and England was its fastest growing sparkling wine category last year, the chain said, with Austria, the Loire and Rhône also showing strong sales.