Durham – a rare blip in the Waitrose success story

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via CannyInsights.com and CannySites.com. Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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8 Responses

  1. Robin Carter says:

    Waitrose did exactly the same in Southport 10 years ago or so. Converted a Morrisons in the town centre to a Waitrose. It had the cheapest town centre car park above it but it lasted only a year before closing. With the growing popularity of Aldi and Lidl, especially the acceptance of the discounters with higher spending customers, I wonder if Waitrose can continue to grow in the near future.

  2. AndrewP says:

    The problem was the location.

    Why would anyone go here to do a weekly shop when there are Sainsbury’s and M&S Simply Food stores on the edge of town with ample free parking.

    Why would anyone use this as a convenience store when it is off the beaten track? M&S is no a main street as is Tesco.

    The whole Gates shopping centre is in the wrong place as it is too far from the market place and, when the property market picks up, I can see half replaced with a residential / leisure development.

    Waitrose would work in Durham, especially as a food and home store, in the Prince Bishops – BHS site? or as a convenience store. The former Woolworths would have been excellent for them. There may also be potential at the Arnison Centre but there is already a huge Sainsburys and a Simply Food.

    Out of interest the old store is to become a Wilkinsons – more in tune with the centre.

  3. pplz says:

    it closed because they couldn’t pay the rent didn’t it

  4. Mark says:

    Thanks for this – I lived in Durham for four years while studying at the university, and always shopped at the Safeway, which, then, was the only supermarket in central Durham. I just heard about both the conversion to a Waitrose and the demise of said Waitrose.

    It’s true that the location was pretty dismal. The fact was, though, that, as I said, it was really the only game in town; this monopoly ought to have stood Waitrose in good stead, even though their relative expensiveness would have put a fair few people off in a town that is not that wealthy, students aside. This makes me think that perhaps the problem was that people weren’t spending enough – they were going there to buy essentials, but buying only the cheaper items, whereas I imagine Waitrose’s business model is to make its profit mainly from premium items.

  1. October 13, 2009

    […] already written, in some depth, about my recent visit to Durham. As I noted then, the new Tesco Metro in the former Market Place Woolworths seems to be […]

  2. October 29, 2010

    […] location of my first ever Waitrose experience, back in 2001 – long before the retailer had made it up here to the North East, and when the most northerly outpost of the Waitrose empire was still Newark-on-Trent. Needless to […]

  3. March 20, 2018

    […] have been forced to leave, most likely due to rents being too high in the limited centre of Durham. Waitrose only managed to stay open for a few years before trading at a loss, between 2005 and […]

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