Supermarket chain Waitrose opened one of its largest stores in the UK to date, in Worcester yesterday (Thursday June 30).
The branch was officially unveiled by Robin Walker MP, branch manager Scott Whittaker, and nine-year-old Isobel from Nunnery Wood Primary School who won a competition to design a shopping bag for the new store.
The 38,000sq ft outlet on London Road is within the top 10 largest Waitrose stores in the UK and has created 130 jobs (following more than 1,300 job applications).
The store is the second Waitrose – and the first outside London – to include a draft beer pump, supplied by the Purity Brewing Company in Alcester. It is located in the shop’s wine bar, a new concept seen in just seven Waitrose stores across the country, where customers can enjoy a beer or wine by the glass along with deli platters and tapas.
The branch is also only the sixth Waitrose to offer a sushi bar which is manned by sushi chefs, who prepare fresh products in front of customers throughout the day. The retailer became the first UK supermarket to include a fresh sushi bar in November last year.
A café, an eat-in bakery, and fresh meat and fish counters are all available, as well as services including Waitrose Quick Check so customers can scan as they shop, online shopping and John Lewis click-and collect.
Waitrose has also confirmed the launch of two community-focused initiatives to support local charities and projects in the area which have been nominated by Worcester customers.
The first is its Partner Volunteering programme, which will provide 250 staff hours each year. The second is its Community Matters ‘green token’ scheme, which will see £1,000 shared between three causes every month. The first trio to benefit will be St Richard’s Hospice, Acorns Children’s Hospice, and New College Worcester, a residential school and college for young people aged 11 to 19 who are blind or partially sighted.
In addition, the store includes a community room, providing free space to local not-for-profit organisations and groups. The room will be available for use whenever the store is trading, including weekends.
Scott Whittaker said: “We’re really proud to be opening in Worcester, to have generated new employment opportunities for local people, and to be adding to the investment that the city continues to attract. Waitrose Worcester will be among our largest in the UK and a real flagship for our brand.”