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Sideysid

John Lewis profits slump 99% in 'challenging times'

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I've noticed an increase in housing sales in my area in the last few months. All have been to first time buyers, a mix of small houses and apartments. Its not what I expected and I'm surprised. But there you go that's the anecdotal evidence I see. It really does contradict my expectations. Some larger houses have been taken off the market but anytime a small house comes on it sells quickly. 

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The stuff that John Lewis sells has risen in price massively. I was looking at bread makers as mine is on its last legs. The equivalent to what I have is now well over 200 quid. A year ago when I thought about replacing it, it was around the 100 quid mark. That’s doubled. Wages have not. 

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1 minute ago, sleepwello'nights said:

I've noticed an increase in housing sales in my area in the last few months. All have been to first time buyers, a mix of small houses and apartments. Its not what I expected and I'm surprised. But there you go that's the anecdotal evidence I see. It really does contradict my expectations. Some larger houses have been taken off the market but anytime a small house comes on it sells quickly. 

Presumably when the owners of those large houses have to sell, for reduced prices, that'll depress the prices of the smaller houses eventually. When people with larger houses have to sell, whether it be forced due to death, spiralling energy costs, redundancy or otherwise, that's when the overall market moves. We're seeing a lot of pressure on businesses at the moment, and we know what's to come, so it's just a case of waiting it out.

Easier said than done of course, but patience really is a virtue with housing right now.

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30 minutes ago, azzuri82 said:

Presumably when the owners of those large houses have to sell, for reduced prices, that'll depress the prices of the smaller houses eventually. When people with larger houses have to sell, whether it be forced due to death, spiralling energy costs, redundancy or otherwise, that's when the overall market moves. We're seeing a lot of pressure on businesses at the moment, and we know what's to come, so it's just a case of waiting it out.

Easier said than done of course, but patience really is a virtue with housing right now.

The smaller places are still being snapped up by BTL hence the continued growth in BTL.

And that fall in price of large family homes to bring down prices of smaller houses has yet to materialise in 2 decades, more wishful thinking until it actually happens.

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21 minutes ago, azzuri82 said:

 

Easier said than done of course, but patience really is a virtue with housing right now.

We're looking to downsize, perversely my wife wants to move to a bigger house O.o. But hey. I've been looking online at less expensive areas yet whenever we see something that seems suitable it is taken off the listings, presumably SSTC.

We saw a house locally last December that we made an offer on, our offer was rejected and it sold at the asking price. I'm still patiently waiting for prices to fall. If prices fall that's good for us, if we have to sell our house buying and selling in the same market will result in a lower price to change and save on transaction costs: stamp duty, agents fees. We don't have to sell, so we could wait it out but time moves on and we need to settle in for our dotage.

Which sort of leads me into the contrarian thinking that is prevalent on here. Whenever I follow our groupthink it never pays off. Latest was Vodafone, I bought some at this years low, and as I predicted it went lower. I sold a rental property in 2014 to see prices rocket. I bought gold to see it plod along, silver fell dramatically. I'm minded that the predictions we see are along the lines of those in New York at the turn of the last century when the doomsayers were predicting the growth in horse drawn traffic leading to mountain of shit in the streets. Logical following the evidence but it never happened. There's a lot to be said for following mainstream investing :(

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56 minutes ago, One percent said:

The stuff that John Lewis sells has risen in price massively. I was looking at bread makers as mine is on its last legs. The equivalent to what I have is now well over 200 quid. A year ago when I thought about replacing it, it was around the 100 quid mark. That’s doubled. Wages have not. 

I wonder if the demand for household appliances is eroded by people getting hand me downs, second hand or even inherited.

In recent years, mostly as a result from older folk passing on we have been offered (and turned down as we already have what we need) all sorts of stuff such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges, kitchen gadgets - all in good working order and often quite new. This is all stuff that 20 years ago I would have never turned down.

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1 hour ago, Sideysid said:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45506322

More dark clouds on the horizon for brick and mortar retailers. I doubt its solely to do with online retailers (and certainly not Brexit as Aunty loves to shoehorn in at every opportunity) but society demographic shifting in general.

Anyone would think that the HPI government policies for boomer votes have done their own legs in raising the drawbridge on the younger rental generation.

If you rent, why would you fill your place up with furniture/furnishings, which is just more shit to lug around to the next place. If you have managed to 'get on the ladder' with a massively overpriced shoe box, you haven't the space to fill it up with shit. Catch 22.

I don't see them being around in the next 5-10 years, not in their current form anyway.

In some ways I think it will be shame as I strongly believe in their concept of the staff all being part owners of the business. I've always thought what better way to motivate staff than to give them a real stake in the business.

Perhaps that could be the answer to the issue of low wages and the growing poor/rich divide, make it a legal requirement that 49% of a companies shares must be held by the staff and link pay and bonuses to it in such a way that proportionally everyone from the cleaner to the CEO is rewarded fairly.

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Hampshire/Surrey border here and friends inbetween here and London. Professional couples and singles. The few that have bought recently all went help to buy and they are stretched, any spare money/credit is going on holidays. That's one thing my age group won't give up on. Furniture is all coming from ikea and other cheap places from wht I can tell. As long as it looks half decent/cool when it's bought little consideration is taken for the long term. The rest of us are renting with most in furnished places. I've rented the same unfurnished place for a few years now, the place is bare with basics. No point stuffing it to the gills to then move it at some point and likely it wouldn't even suit my new place. There really is not much left for companies like JL. Once the boomers go that's it for them unless they reinvent themselves.

Just on the smaller houses and their prices, there really is a disconnect. £350-400k for a small terraced, £50+£100k more gets you a nice 3-4 bed detached. The nice houses just aren't selling. The limit people can borrow is these terraced houses. I suspect by the demographic change I'm seeing around town, particularly in Waitrose (it's noticeable), the bigger houses that are selling are being bought up by people leaving London.

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2 minutes ago, null; said:

I don't see them being around in the next 5-10 years, not in their current form anyway.

In some ways I think it will be shame as I strongly believe in their concept of the staff all being part owners of the business. I've always thought what better way to motivate staff than to give them a real stake in the business.

Perhaps that could be the answer to the issue of low wages and the growing poor/rich divide, make it a legal requirement that 49% of a companies shares must be held by the staff and link pay and bonuses to it in such a way that proportionally everyone from the cleaner to the CEO is rewarded fairly.

I don't see the UK being around in ten years time...

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8 minutes ago, null; said:

I wonder if the demand for household appliances is eroded by people getting hand me downs, second hand or even inherited.

In recent years, mostly as a result from older folk passing on we have been offered (and turned down as we already have what we need) all sorts of stuff such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges, kitchen gadgets - all in good working order and often quite new. This is all stuff that 20 years ago I would have never turned down.

Maybe but I think it is also how people buy.  My go to site is always JL as I know they sell quality stuff.  Then, having made my choice, I wander round the internet to find the lowest price.  Occasionally it is JL but not very often...

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1 minute ago, null; said:

I don't see them being around in the next 5-10 years, not in their current form anyway.

In some ways I think it will be shame as I strongly believe in their concept of the staff all being part owners of the business. I've always thought what better way to motivate staff than to give them a real stake in the business.

Perhaps that could be the answer to the issue of low wages and the growing poor/rich divide, make it a legal requirement that 49% of a companies shares must be held by the staff and link pay and bonuses to it in such a way that proportionally everyone from the cleaner to the CEO is rewarded fairly.

The "owned by the workers" bit of JL is not entirely correct, the direct employees yes but things like cleaning, maintenance etc are contracted out to other companies. Most JL cleaners are on lower wages for the likes of Compass Group. The in store franchises may also turn out to be employed by the franchise owners?

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1 hour ago, Sideysid said:

If you rent, why would you fill your place up with furniture/furnishings, which is just more shit to lug around to the next place. If you have managed to 'get on the ladder' with a massively overpriced shoe box, you haven't the space to fill it up with shit. Catch 22.

 

One thing I have been doing over the years is buying less and less I want a more minimal life so much stuff was just stuck at the back of a draw or cupboard so when I moved I did a few dump runs and selling on eBay actually only bulk I have is tools mostly 

But whilst john lewis doesn't sell tools I think people are shopping around its surprising the differences can be a lot when I was on the other site there was a tool I needed or required here is the difference


From an old post:
I have started using eBay more
Recently I ordered a power tool now the same model nothing extra

B&Q £359
Screwfix £249
Axminster Tools £192 
Amazon £189
eBay £179

eBay Auction won for £128  ( its brand new pretty much used once or twice just sat in a workshop)

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14 minutes ago, null; said:

I wonder if the demand for household appliances is eroded by people getting hand me downs, second hand or even inherited.

 

That's the demographic conclusion Harry Dent is propounding. Yet population of western countries continues to increase. Immigrants must have different lifestyles?

 

11 minutes ago, null; said:

In some ways I think it will be shame as I strongly believe in their concept of the staff all being part owners of the business. I've always thought what better way to motivate staff than to give them a real stake in the business.

Perhaps that could be the answer to the issue of low wages and the growing poor/rich divide, make it a legal requirement that 49% of a companies shares must be held by the staff and link pay and bonuses to it in such a way that proportionally everyone from the cleaner to the CEO is rewarded fairly.

Seems a good idea. In the long term though it would be gamed, much as Margaret Thatcher's vision of a property owning democracy was subverted into a property owing democracy.

 

12 minutes ago, Admiral Pepe said:

Hampshire/Surrey border here and friends inbetween here and London. Professional couples and singles. The few that have bought recently all went help to buy and they are stretched, any spare money/credit is going on holidays. That's one thing my age group won't give up on. Furniture is all coming from ikea and other cheap places from wht I can tell. As long as it looks half decent/cool when it's bought little consideration is taken for the long term. The rest of us are renting with most in furnished places. 

 

Rational economics coming into play, if its cheaper to buy than rent then those that can raise the deposit will buy. I'm sure a mortgage on a house in the lower price ranges is less than current rents. More so in the higher price ranges as @Cunning Planfinds from his experience. In fact doing the sums for my projected life span it would be more cost effective for me to rent. Something else to consider.

 

16 minutes ago, Admiral Pepe said:

Just on the smaller houses and their prices, there really is a disconnect. £350-400k for a small terraced, £50+£100k more gets you a nice 3-4 bed detached. The nice houses just aren't selling. The limit people can borrow is these terraced houses. I suspect by the demographic change I'm seeing around town, particularly in Waitrose (it's noticeable), the bigger houses that are selling are being bought up by people leaving London.

Further evidence of the London ripple effect. There is some pleasant country side around this area and its less enriched than many parts of London and surrounds. Changes are evident and growing though.

Reading through my replies I seem terribly racist and anti immigrant. The issue to me is not colour and ethnicity but the way the environment is changing. Streets are full of litter, secondary shopping areas becoming dilapidated that sort of thing. 

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1 hour ago, Banned said:

The smaller places are still being snapped up by BTL hence the continued growth in BTL.

And that fall in price of large family homes to bring down prices of smaller houses has yet to materialise in 2 decades, more wishful thinking until it actually happens.

This is one precisely why markets suck in and damage as many people as possible. Even the sceptics eventually throw in the towel. It's normally just afterwards that everything turns to shit.

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20 minutes ago, azzuri82 said:

This is one precisely why markets suck in and damage as many people as possible. Even the sceptics eventually throw in the towel. It's normally just afterwards that everything turns to shit.

The smaller houses I see that have sold are being sold to first time buyers, not landlords. 

This article seems to support my anecdotal evidence: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/buytolet/article-5950535/Buy-let-continues-fade-tax-changes-throw-barrier.html

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1 hour ago, One percent said:

I don't see the UK being around in ten years time...

The UK is a historical anomaly and already beyond its useful life. If there was a referendum tomorrow then I am convinced English people would vote leave. Although I believe the true map of England is smaller than the official map, no Cornwall for example. 

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1 hour ago, Admiral Pepe said:

Furniture is all coming from ikea and other cheap places from wht I can tell. As long as it looks half decent/cool when it's bought little consideration is taken for the long term.

To be fair, our PAX corner wardrobe served us well for 5 years back home, survived dis-assembly, transport and re-assembly in UK, kept going for another 2 years, got put apart again, transported and for the last year has continued its life as 3 separate bookcases (on original bolts and hookings) with doors used to make a shoe stand. That last bit required some DYI but still, I'm amazed how much life we got out of it considering the price.

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Doubt my post will be popular among the skinflinterati but this is the inevitable result of putting pricepoint above everything else. I really like John Lewis / Waitrose because they treat their staff well and their stores are clean. You also come across very few migrants which is refreshing. They run their business correctly but it costs a business a lot of money to run that way which is reflected in their prices.

This earnings dive is the result of consumers putting the cheapest price (Amazon) above everything else, and saying sod the other factors. The people who shop at Amazon and then whinge about the lack of funding for the #envyoftheworld NHS really grind my gears - this is why.

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5 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

Doubt my post will be popular among the skinflinterati but this is the inevitable result of putting pricepoint above everything else. I really like John Lewis / Waitrose because they treat their staff well and their stores are clean. You also come across very few migrants which is refreshing. They run their business correctly but it costs a business a lot of money to run that way which is reflected in their prices.

This earnings dive is the result of consumers putting the cheapest price (Amazon) above everything else, and saying sod the other factors. The people who shop at Amazon and then whinge about the lack of funding for the #envyoftheworld NHS really grind my gears - this is why.

Have a friend who works at the head office (not far from here) along with most of their family. They get treated very well and weren't too shy about sharing how much they got with their bonuses (not of late though). Great for career progression also. The problem is JL/Waitrose just haven't moved with the times. They've been happy to rely on the boomer generation and their loyalty whilst screwing on quality. They were shouting from the roof tops in 2012/13 when it all went well for them; however, they were not looking further down the road.

I've shopped myself at Waitrose (as its next door and get the reductions) for a few years and my mum has always shopped there when she's lived in England since the late 90's that i can recall. She loves them and JL. Even flies to the Edinburgh and Glasgow branches to buy her furniture as she now lives in NI. Would never hear a negative word about them, even though I showed her that her overpriced sofa could be had new for less than half price on ebay. You don't have to peel back far too see most of Waitrose/JL is just big facade

The trend in quality of late is terrible and prices are rising at an alarming rate. It is progressively going downhill and they are scalping their customers. The fresh sections like the deli, bakery, meat counter? Are all out of packets but made to look like they're not. The "fresh" cafe is stuff from the shop floor, usually the cheaper/own brand range e.g. frozen chips, not made fresh. They've joined the race to the bottom and that's on their head. They were the ones that took out these massive shops in shopping centres. They're the ones trying to price match Curry’s etc. I would prefer to pay for quality and service, but they're hiding behind their history and brand, same as M & S. We've lost quality butchers and fish mongers, and this is an example of an area where Waitrose could have excelled in. Nope they would rather have a tiny meat counter and sell bottom grade meat. Have you eaten any of their BBQ range? I wouldn't even give that to a dog. It's a shame, but they should have carved themselves a nice little niche area, rather than joining the pack. As many companies don't realise, there is a healthy market for customers who will pay a premium if its fair and warranted. They just don't like scaling down a bit. Would rather be busy fools. I knew something was up with the profits when they changed the way they were doing the reductions a few months back.

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48 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

Doubt my post will be popular among the skinflinterati but this is the inevitable result of putting pricepoint above everything else. I really like John Lewis / Waitrose because they treat their staff well and their stores are clean. You also come across very few migrants which is refreshing. They run their business correctly but it costs a business a lot of money to run that way which is reflected in their prices.

This earnings dive is the result of consumers putting the cheapest price (Amazon) above everything else, and saying sod the other factors. The people who shop at Amazon and then whinge about the lack of funding for the #envyoftheworld NHS really grind my gears - this is why.

Agreed but as with other posts I think there are several factors at play in addition to buying online for the lowest prices:

  • Smaller / rented houses - less space for stuff
  • Continued decline in wages compared to prices - less ability to buy stuff
  • After-effect of the buying binges of the 90s and 00s - loads of coverage of deceluttering and minimalism 

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27 minutes ago, Admiral Pepe said:

Have a friend who works at the head office (not far from here) along with most of their family. They get treated very well and weren't too shy about sharing how much they got with their bonuses (not of late though). Great for career progression also. The problem is JL/Waitrose just haven't moved with the times. They've been happy to rely on the boomer generation and their loyalty whilst screwing on quality. They were shouting from the roof tops in 2012/13 when it all went well for them; however, they were not looking further down the road.

I've shopped myself at Waitrose (as its next door and get the reductions) for a few years and my mum has always shopped there when she's lived in England since the late 90's that i can recall. She loves them and JL. Even flies to the Edinburgh and Glasgow branches to buy her furniture as she now lives in NI. Would never hear a negative word about them, even though I showed her that her overpriced sofa could be had new for less than half price on ebay. You don't have to peel back far too see most of Waitrose/JL is just big facade

The trend in quality of late is terrible and prices are rising at an alarming rate. It is progressively going downhill and they are scalping their customers. The fresh sections like the deli, bakery, meat counter? Are all out of packets but made to look like they're not. The "fresh" cafe is stuff from the shop floor, usually the cheaper/own brand range e.g. frozen chips, not made fresh. They've joined the race to the bottom and that's on their head. They were the ones that took out these massive shops in shopping centres. They're the ones trying to price match Curry’s etc. I would prefer to pay for quality and service, but they're hiding behind their history and brand, same as M & S. We've lost quality butchers and fish mongers, and this is an example of an area where Waitrose could have excelled in. Nope they would rather have a tiny meat counter and sell bottom grade meat. Have you eaten any of their BBQ range? I wouldn't even give that to a dog. It's a shame, but they should have carved themselves a nice little niche area, rather than joining the pack. As many companies don't realise, there is a healthy market for customers who will pay a premium if its fair and warranted. They just don't like scaling down a bit. Would rather be busy fools. I knew something was up with the profits when they changed the way they were doing the reductions a few months back.

I don't think they need to move with the times, that is in fact their downfall. A lot of their custom is, like Laura Ashley, based on nostalgia.

I can't say I shop in John Lewis branches that often, my post was mainly based on Waitrose. I find myself shopping less there now to be honest, I used to go in there for lunch but nowadays they clearly have stock delivery issues, the sandwich counter is quite often empty even at 11am. Plus, now that they've phased out the 'free' coffee cups and ask you to pay £12 (!) for one to wash yourself and bring back, frankly I don't see much point in going there - it was a nice touch but not a deal breaker. However I can get a decent sandwich from the local Co-op nowadays.  The other issue that pisses me off is the security guard actively following me and not bothering to disguise it.

On the subject of coffee cups I resent the implication that I am polluting the oceans by taking a free coffee cup - which should be fully recycled by the company that the council has contracted out. I put it in the recycling bins every day so if they are not/cannot being recycled then they should have switched to one of the many fully-recyclable coffee cups that are available now for a pittance.

The reason I am getting on my high horse over this trivial coffee cup issue is I think it's symptomatic of the wider problems at John Lewis nowadays, they don't know their target audience any more. They were mooting not selling/giving out the Daily Mail because of SJW pressure, and they backed Remain, if you want 2 other examples. John Lewis doesn't need to move with the times, it needs to be reassuringly expensive, traditional and dependably British. Getting rid of the price match would be a good start.

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2 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

I don't think they need to move with the times, that is in fact their downfall. A lot of their custom is, like Laura Ashley, based on nostalgia.

I can't say I shop in John Lewis branches that often, my post was mainly based on Waitrose. I find myself shopping less there now to be honest, I used to go in there for lunch but nowadays they clearly have stock delivery issues, the sandwich counter is quite often empty even at 11am. Plus, now that they've got phased out the 'free' coffee cups and ask you to pay £12 (!) for one to bring back every day I don't see much point in going there - it was a nice touch but not a deal breaker. However I can get a decent sandwich from the local Co-op nowadays.  The other issue that pisses me off is the security guard actively following me and not bothering to disguise it.

On the subject of coffee cups I resent the implication that I am polluting the oceans by taking a free coffee cup - which should be fully recycled by the company that the council has contracted out. I put it in the recycling bins every day so if they are not/cannot being recycled then they should have switched to one of the many fully-recyclable coffee cups that are available now for a pittance.

The reason I am getting on my high horse over this trivial coffee cup issue is I think it's symptomatic of the wider problems at John Lewis nowadays, they don't know their target audience any more. They were mooting not selling/giving out the Daily Mail because of SJW pressure, and they backed Remain, if you want 2 other examples.

Maybe you're wearing the wrong clothes and that's making him suspicious?

shoplifting+or+pregnant+man+dr+heckle+fu

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1 hour ago, spunko2010 said:

I don't think they need to move with the times, that is in fact their downfall. A lot of their custom is, like Laura Ashley, based on nostalgia.

I can't say I shop in John Lewis branches that often, my post was mainly based on Waitrose. I find myself shopping less there now to be honest, I used to go in there for lunch but nowadays they clearly have stock delivery issues, the sandwich counter is quite often empty even at 11am. Plus, now that they've phased out the 'free' coffee cups and ask you to pay £12 (!) for one to wash yourself and bring back, frankly I don't see much point in going there - it was a nice touch but not a deal breaker. However I can get a decent sandwich from the local Co-op nowadays.  The other issue that pisses me off is the security guard actively following me and not bothering to disguise it.

On the subject of coffee cups I resent the implication that I am polluting the oceans by taking a free coffee cup - which should be fully recycled by the company that the council has contracted out. I put it in the recycling bins every day so if they are not/cannot being recycled then they should have switched to one of the many fully-recyclable coffee cups that are available now for a pittance.

The reason I am getting on my high horse over this trivial coffee cup issue is I think it's symptomatic of the wider problems at John Lewis nowadays, they don't know their target audience any more. They were mooting not selling/giving out the Daily Mail because of SJW pressure, and they backed Remain, if you want 2 other examples. John Lewis doesn't need to move with the times, it needs to be reassuringly expensive, traditional and dependably British. Getting rid of the price match would be a good start.

If they don't change/adapt how can they get the transition of new customers? A business that is suited to boomers/nostalgia isn't going to attract your new customers. Relying on brand value sometimes isn't enough especially in a world that is ultra competive and changing fast. To me they’ve been bumbling along and been playing it safe. They're trying to compete in an area they shouldn't be trying to compete in. Like you say they have issues with their sandwiches. Their whole lunch section looks poor imo. The salad pots aren't very appetizing either. What are thy, £3.50 for a tiny pot of quinoa? Why don't they have a section that makes fresh sandwiches, salads, pasta pots and whatnot to order/pre-order (on your device)? Choose the toppings you like yourself. Why sell the same shite that you can get in every other supermarket, likely made by the same firm just rebranded. They import shitty farmed shrimp. Why not have freshly caught langoustines/crab and other shellfish? I would pay a premium for these. I'm not spending £5 on some manky ass sewer bottom feeders from Thailand. The list is endless, I spend way too much time in Waitrose hunting out the discounts on their crap as I'm not going to pay full price on it.

This for me is what Waitrose need to do. They need to go after the millennials, the hipsters with disposable/credit. Differentiate from the other supermarkets. Because just selling bottom grade food in fancier packaging isn't going to win over customers. I can't speak for JL with much conviction as not been in one in ages. Although did get my last two TV's from them online (price matchedxD ). But seems to me they would be better of specialising in well-made/manufactured/customised products with exceptional customer service. Primarily focusing online, whilst having a few supercentres based out in the middle of nowhere so people can park for free, look and collect if that's what they want to do. Sitting in these shopping centres will be the death of them and the writing has been on the wall for years

My local Waitrose branch has obvious issues with shoplifting at the moment. My other half said she saw someone running out of there last night and then when she got around the corner saw him hiding behind a car. I got stopped myself last week to ask what I had in my bag after using the self-checkout, by an over enthusiastic junior manager. Who I had seen a few days prior effing and blinding when someone stole an expensive bottle of something. Seems like they're taking it personally.

*edit. I think they got rid of the DM because people where absuing the free paper and getting it discounted off their shopping bill.

Edited by Admiral Pepe

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