Waitrose: The best ever Christmas

Principal authors: Debra Stephens and Michelle Gilson, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Contributing authors: Paddy Adams, Manning Gottlieb OMD; Diego Usai, BrandScience

MANAGEMENT SUMMARY

This is the story of the best Christmas Waitrose has ever had, delivering the highest growth in like for like sales in the grocery sector (+3.8%).

It tells how communications attracted less frequent, lighter customers despite challenging market conditions, despite fiercer competition and despite no significant new news.

Marketing is often about making tough choices. Waitrose made the tough decision to invest more in brand, despite everything pointing to promoting price, and transformed their existing assets into a showcase to make the brand more magical and inclusive.

This delivered a net profit ROI of £1.89 over just 8 weeks.

BACKGROUND

Waitrose is a relatively small player in the UK grocery market with 276 stores and 4.3% annual market share1. They are dwarfed by the mainstream supermarket giants of Morrisons, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Waitrose pride themselves on their approach to quality, service and CSR and are positioned towards the top end of the market with Sainsbury's and M&S. Their growth revenue has been delivered through a small but very loyal base of shoppers2.