UK: Price talks up Waitrose's online potential
Waitrose MD Mark Price has insisted the UK retailer's online business has "great potential" as he reported that its sales online had risen by 30% in recent weeks.
A relaunch of waitrose.com last year attracted criticism, with customers complaining that the revamped service was slower than rivals.
Industry watchers have said driving growth online should be one of Waitrose's priorities in its new financial year.
Speaking to just-food after Waitrose announced its annual results, Price said the retailer generated GBP165m from Internet sales last year and was optimistic about its service.
"We think that we've got great potential to grow it from where we are today," he said. "we are growing at 30% as reported by Kantar, both the last four weeks and the last 12 weeks. That's about the growth we should expect for the year. Our plan is that we should continue to grow ahead of the market as we improve our capability and capacity."
When Waitrose owner John Lewis Partnership announced its results on Wednesday, it said the "success" of "click and bricks" strategy had been "an important element" in the sales growth of its John Lewis stores, which saw sales increase 3%.
The retailer said its "Click and Collect" service was available in all its John Lewis stores and in 94 Waitrose outlets. It plans to roll out Click and Collect to more Waitrose stores in the coming year.
Price said Waitrose would also be looking to make it easier for consumers to shop via their mobiles.
"We'll be launching mobile apps to pick up on the increased mobility of customers and their ability to use tablets etc," he said. He added there would be a "whole host of things we are looking in terms of improving functionality of our website, increasing our capacity to deliver to customers and moving into more mobile technology".
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