Co-op to close as Little Waitrose gets bigger


Waitrose, the food shops of the John Lewis Partnership, has today announced that it has reached an agreement with The Co-operative Group to acquire its shop in Alderley Edge.

Waitrose intends to use the unit to extend its existing convenience store at The Parade into the neighbouring unit to provide shoppers with an improved choice of goods and services.

All 17 Co-operative employees who work at the shop will become Partners in the John Lewis Partnership on the date of transfer. Waitrose is also hoping to create up to an additional 40 jobs at the branch.

The Co-operative branch will continue to trade as normal until Waitrose is handed the keys on 1st May when it will commence works to enable it to open in early summer at a date to be confirmed.

Waitrose Alderely Edge currently donates £6,000 and 100 staff working hours to local causes nominated by customers each year through Community Matters and Partner Volunteering schemes; however this will increase to £12,000 and 250 hours when it opens as a larger store in June.

Nigel Keen, Director of Development at Waitrose, said: "We are looking forward to providing our Alderley Edge customers with a significantly improved offer this summer and continuing to play our part in the community as well as welcoming the new employees to Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership."

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Group said: "The Co-operative Group can confirm that it is in the process of selling its food store in Alderley Edge and has exchanged contracts with Waitrose.

"The store on The Parade, London Road, Alderley Edge, is being sold as a going concern, and all 17 food staff, will transfer to the new operator with their terms and conditions of employment maintained. It will continue to trade as a Co-operative store until it transfers to Waitrose in May.

"We are pleased to have concluded a deal which ensures employment for the staff, as well as a continuing service for the local community in which the store is based."

Co-op, The Co-operative, Waitrose


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Sarah Lane
Wednesday 22nd January 2014 at 12:51 pm
Little Waitrose was nothing more than a convenience store, never really had everything you needed so this is good news (IMO) Great news no jobs will be lost, lucky Co Op staff becoming partners. Perhaps they could look into knocking off the price of the parking if you buy in the shop.

Last week I bought a ticket and I was quicker in the shop than I was buying the ticket and putting it in my car. Tried to pass it off to another car parker but not one person even attempted to buy a ticket, must just be me that's a mug.
Vince Fogharty
Wednesday 22nd January 2014 at 1:02 pm
Great news for the village, the retail space this will create is outside what they normally have as a maximum for a "little waitrose" so will hopefully become full sized which will mean it becomes a destination and will take people away from the Wilmslow shop, that will then give the Alderley Retailers an opportunity to push to a larger footfall which can only be good news. It certainly wont take any retail away from them as its just replacing one brand for another, it may even push more locals into the independent food retailers as co-op is cheaper than Waitrose and some may not cross over.
Ricky Lee
Wednesday 22nd January 2014 at 1:18 pm
That's good news, I wonder if they can redesign The Parade to provide much need extra parking for the community and the Waitrose partners. Alternatively it would be nice for Waitrose to investigate parking provision for it's own partners, who currently struggles with parking on Ryleys Lane and the Park's car park.
David Hadfield
Wednesday 22nd January 2014 at 3:46 pm
Sarah, that's exactly what "Little Waitrose" is, it's a small convenience store, so we never expected it to stock a whole load of products similar to Waitrose Wilmslow.
However, now it will be twice as large so expect many more items to be offered for sale.

Ps; A very noble gesture in offering other motorists your hardly-used Parking Ticket that you'd just purchased, but maybe you didn't have success with giving it away as it's actually breaking the law by offering / selling / giving away / your parking ticket for others to use if purchased for your own use and still valid.
Sarah Lane
Wednesday 22nd January 2014 at 4:07 pm
David. Yes it sure sounds like a major crime. Maybe the police could look into it ;)

The reason no one took the ticket was because no one had any intention of buying one, everyone I saw just got out of their car and walked into Waitrose. They had zero intention of buying a ticket. Like I say it's me that is the mug for buying the ticket and now a law braker for trying to give the thing away. (rolls eyes)
Carolyn Deighton
Thursday 23rd January 2014 at 9:07 am
Am delighted about Waitrose expansion - great news. I have never paid to park there assuming 2hrs free as at other branches I have used!!!
Sarah Lane
Thursday 23rd January 2014 at 4:15 pm
Carolyn. The car park is not owned by Waitrose so sadly you do have to pay to park. There is a machine near the Co Op. You must have a parking angel watching over you. I only need to enter the car Pak and the warden is doing his rounds.
Julia-Mara Guest
Thursday 23rd January 2014 at 7:16 pm
I`m one of the mythical `have-not-a-lots` of Alderley Edge so the loss of the reasonably priced Co-Op is likely to hit me harder than most. I would love to be able to shop in Waitrose as I agree it is a quality store which befits the Alderley Edge image. However, given my present circumstances the higher prices may well force me to shop outside the village and I feel that many others in a similar situation to me will be forced to do the same.
Marc Asquith
Friday 24th January 2014 at 10:27 am
I have to say that I am not surprised. The Co-Op reaction to Waitrose was initially to make a huge effort to keep the shop well stocked and looking good - but over time the costs and effort that went into that all became too much and the cut backs became rather evident.

As for reasonably priced, you can call me mean if you like, but I regularly check out all three stores to compare prices before I buy. It's surprising just how often Waitrose has the product I want at the best price. If Co-Op had wanted to stay alive they should have competed overtly on price. It always seemed to me that they were trapped by a national pricing policy rather actively competing in the village. Sad to see the brand leave the village - no - its only a small step up from the tatty Somerfield and Kwik Save that preceeded them on that site, glad the staff will become Waitrose Partners - seems like excellent news for them.
Kirsteen Peel
Friday 24th January 2014 at 11:31 am
I totally agree with Marc, I don't like to think of myself as mean, but I have to shop on a limited budget so am very careful - I do not find Waitrose compares badly at all with Tesco, Sainsbury's or The Co-Op. Not having to go to Wilmslow or Handforth Dean to do a supermarket shop will be beneficial for me and I can park in South Street after 3pm to get free parking.

It's also very good that the current employees will be able to work for Waitrose and get all the excellent benefits that brings with it.

Result all round as far as I'm concerned!
Beverley Chapman
Friday 24th January 2014 at 11:56 am
Great news for the village and for the co-op staff. I hope the store will be revamped as I find the store in Wilmslow very dowdy. As far as pricing is concerned I too have compared with Tesco and Sainsburys and have found that Waitrose compares most favourably with them. There was always the myth that Waitrose is more expensive but in a wide range of products it is the same or a few pence cheaper. As for the car parking, a nightmare and it is definitely not free during the day.
Christine Munro
Tuesday 28th January 2014 at 10:47 am
On behalf of the organisers of the May Fair I would like to say a very big thank you to the Co-op and all their staff for the huge support they have given us over the last 3 years. They have always been generous with sponsorship, allowing us to pay for bands and other entertainers. They have also regularly attended our meetings and helped us promote the event. Each year they have had a stall on the park on the day. We are very sorry to see the Co-op leave the village and wish their wonderful staff every success in their new jobs at Waitrose. Such a great community-minded company will be sadly missed.
Fenton Simpson
Tuesday 28th January 2014 at 8:29 pm
As for the parking issue, why not relocate the ticket machine to a more central position ? Outside the current entrance to waitrose. The disabled don't pay anyway so there's no need to have the machine there. I know it needs power etc. waitrose could refund the ticket if they wanted too.

They give free coffee away !
Frank Keegan
Tuesday 28th January 2014 at 10:38 pm
Any attempts to re-site the ticket machine are premature, I would have thought. There is no telling where the new entrance will be, and it could well be a new single entrance at the ticket machine.

However, there is an opportunity for a single store to offer refunds of parking tickets for, say, a minimum spend. That would also help other retailers in the village by encouraging shoppers to stay in the village.

Waitrose are to be congratulated on increasing their store size because it will offer a much better range. The price war challenge will be for Waitrose to keep shoppers in the village, plus to attract outsiders. The extra footfall from visitors to the village means the prices in the village have to be keen - no one will drive past cheaper outlets in Wilmslow just to spend more in Alderley. Good news all round, I think. Up to 40 extra staff, potentially driving cars? Must find somewhere to build a car park!!
Fenton Simpson
Wednesday 29th January 2014 at 6:40 pm
Frank, it's common sense to have the parking meter as close to the middle of the car park if there is only one meter. It does not matter where the waitrose entrance is or will be.

As for building an other car park. I know that a number of the coop employees and waitrose partners either live in the village or travel by train, not all of course.

And as you well know that I'm the chairman of the allotment society and I'm not going to debate policy or conjecture of the PC on this forum. So stop your mischief !
Frank Keegan
Thursday 30th January 2014 at 10:04 am

My point is still valid. The current siting was designed to cover two locations, one underground, adjacent to the precinct. It makes sense to finalise the transformation of the site and then work out who the car park is serving. The car park will remain the only short stay option for people who are not visiting Waitrose - I exclude South Street because it has a high proportion of all day parking.

It will also be an opportunity to introduce new technology arrangements into the equation. Recently I was in Hertford and there was number plate recognition software in use. This meant I had options re payment : I could leave the car park without paying, and pay online, within the next 24 hours, or I could pay at a machine when I had completed my task.

Cheshire East have themselves introduced technology to pay by phone, at South Street car park. So there are different options which can be considered.

One thing which must be guarded against is driving people away; the warden service will shortly be outsourced to a private company, and my guess is that they will be like vigilantes on this car park. I would suggest that we want a system which raises fair revenue, without creating a penalty charge culture - or I should say without perpetuating the current penalty system.

It is also an opportunity to extend the hours of charge; diners park for free, and yet they have a high spend. Altrincham charge £2.50 -fixed- for parking in the evening. That sort of charge could help keep current parking charges reasonable for local shoppers.
Jackie Woodhouse
Tuesday 4th February 2014 at 5:08 pm
After reading Julia Mara-Guests comments on waitrose I totally agree with her as I always shop outside Alderley edge. The co-op was also too expensive.
I run a my buisness absolutely fine shopping from lidl's and I get good reviews all the time about our cooking.
Lidl is only a five minute drive away and I reccomend very highly.
It is soo cheap and it allows us to make excellent profits on our menu.
Victoria Ashley
Thursday 13th February 2014 at 11:02 pm
The parking machine is in the wrong place correct me if I'm wrong buy the underground parking has a shutter and is not a public car park and has not been for some time, what harm would it do to have another ticket machine in the middle or near the stairs close to waitrose car park,as per council dont like to spend to much in the area unless they have to and considering the wealth in the area council tax braket and the roads in the area are a disgrace