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Retailer Face To Face


NoWaitingAt Waitrose


Located a few miles from Stonehenge, one of the nation’s oldest landmarks, is one of the UK’s newest leading retailing landmarks - Waitrose’s totally revamped Food & Home branch in Salisbury, trailblazing a totally new display approach towards its greeting cards. With a recent Henries award (for an own brand male collection) shining


brightly, PG talks to Kirsty Dennis, Waitrose’s card, giftwrap and writing stationery buyer, about how the retailer is raising its bar on the card front.


Waitrose has always been a bit different from the other grocers, not just in its partnership set up (owned by those who work in the business), but in its more upmarket product offer, retailing environment and its marketing. While its recent Christmas advertising campaign laid down the challenge to members of the public to ‘Donate your voice’ to create a choral rendition of Dolly Parton’s ‘Try’, on the greeting card front it has been down to card and stationery buyer Kirsty Dennis to lead the ‘singing’ on the greeting card selection, who has not been afraid to ‘try’ new approaches.


And it is an approach that is paying


off, achieving impressive double digit growth year on year.


“Greeting cards now form an incredibly important part of Waitrose’s offer,


our


customers now expect to find a really good selection of cards in our stores,” reveals Kirsty. “And we believe that our latest replan will further strengthen our position.”


This month sees a brand new card


selection being introduced right across the retailer’s estate (334 Waitrose shops, including 40 little Waitrose branches, 15 Shell forecourts and six flagship Food & Home branches). Standing as a retailing beacon for how


Kirsty would love to see the card departments in all Waitrose branches is its Salisbury’s Food & Home store, which has just been totally revamped to become a flagship in all aspects. “As soon as the new card department opened last November, our sales increased by 17% - and that was without the new selection!” she revealed. Over 1,000 new designs


were introduced into Waitrose’s 1,500 range of everyday cards this month as its January replan. “We had a good year on


cards last year, but my view is


Above: Adding value and profile to the Waitrose selection are some exclusive designs which have been created by a group of UK graduates, duly labeled to celebrate their provenance and with the backs of the cards telling the story and fanfaring the artist whose work features. Left: The new look card department in Waitrose’s Salisbury’s store. Inset: Kirsty Dennis.


PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 57


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