Waitrose & Partners today announces plans to treble the size of its successful online grocery operation to a £1bn business over the next three years, working in partnership with Today Development Partners (TDP).
The move with TDP, which is headed by Jonathan Faiman and Mo Gawdat, will accelerate the development of Waitrose.com through a significant increase in capacity and automation and will see a rapid step change in Waitrose.com's online and digital capabilities. Together, Waitrose.com and TDP plan to develop three state-of-the-art automated Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) while harnessing cutting edge technical capabilities to deliver an outstanding online customer experience.
The Waitrose.com service is currently provided through a combination of from-branch deliveries, and through the Coulsdon Fulfilment Centre, opened in 2015 - as well as via a planned second CFC to serve the North London area.
To lead this growth in online, Ben Stimson - currently Retail Director - has been appointed to the new role of Digital Director with immediate effect. Ben will work across all areas of Waitrose & Partners to lead the delivery of the growth in capacity and sales of Waitrose.com and will manage the new relationship with TDP. The role will build on his previous role, where in addition to holding responsibility for shops and contact centres, Ben led market-beating online growth and significant increases in customer satisfaction. He will make digital integral to the business with the aim of making it easy for customers to shop in the way that suits them - barriers between online and offline shopping will disappear.
Rob Collins, MD of Waitrose & Partners, commented: 'Waitrose.com is a popular and efficient home delivery service that is already growing strongly ahead of the market. The plans announced today represent a clear commitment to achieve rapid step-change in Waitrose.com's capacity and capability as we build a modern, well-invested digital business that is fit for the future.
'The development of our new Customer Fulfilment Centres will triple our delivery capacity, bringing our well-loved service and delicious food to more customers across the UK and setting Waitrose.com on the path to becoming a £1 billion turnover business.'
Jonathan Faiman, Co-founder and CEO of Today Development Partners said: “I am more excited about this new venture than anything I've done in my career. I am delighted and privileged to be back within the John Lewis Partnership family and we will deliver for Waitrose.com customers the world's best digital home delivery service.”
Mo Gawdat, chief business officer of TDP and former chief business officer of Google X, the innovation arm of Google, said: “What we're aiming to build is the kind of platform that touches everyone's life. With the advancement in technology and with Waitrose.com as our partner we aim to make the experience of using this technology a great experience for the customer.”