01 June 1998

THE SUPERMARKET MECCA for Britain's middle-aged middle classes, Waitrose, is targeting a new generation of cyber-shoppers. Waitrose@work is a new online service enabling office workers to order essentials such as Gentleman's Relish and sushi along with their grocery staples. The scheme requires the co-operation of employers, with orders being delivered without charge to a central point at the workplace, ready for collection by staff on the way home. Payment is made via credit card when ordering. Following year-long tests at ICL's office in Reading, the service rolled-out in July, with British Airways making it available to 3,500 staff at its Harmondsworth head office. Other major firms considering the service are BT, Nationwide and Microsoft. Any product stocked by Waitrose stores - except, for the moment, frozen foods - is available via the new service which allows users to store their regular shopping lists on the system. Explains Waitrose: 'It is aimed at those companies with offices on out-of-town sites such as industrial and business parks, where there are no shops.'