A Waitrose employee told me some years ago that the opening of M&S in St Martin’s precinct, albeit short lived, did little to affect sales in Waitrose.
However it was when this Tesco popped up, a relatively tiny competitor, that Waitrose felt the impact.
Considering the numbers of people queuing every time you go in there it’s easy to understand. The nature of shopping means people will always need small amounts regularly. There is always something you forgot to get. And while you’re there, there are many more temptations.
Few would have predicted that the fiercest way to fight Waitrose would be not to get into its natural market but to pick up the casual shoppers that – you might think – were not the most essential customers.
Architecturally this place adds nothing to the streetscene but just look at the volume of shoppers they bring and you realise Tesco hasn’t been expanding throughout the country without learning something.