Change at the top for Waitrose

Mark Price's stepping down as managing director of Waitrose has raised eyebrows in the supermarket sector.

15-10-22-price-634
The resignation of Waitrose's Mark Price has raised eyebrows

A change in senior management at the John Lewis partnership "is rather like the regeneration of Doctor Who", said Conlumino's Neil Saunders a rarity. So Mark Price raised eyebrows this week when he stepped down as Waitrose's managing director after almost a decade at the helm. He also quit his role as deputy chairman of the John Lewis partnership, where he has worked for 33 years. He is applying to become chairman of Channel 4.

What the commentators said

So how did Price do it? For starters, "he never stopped thinking like a customer", said Ben Wright in The Daily Telegraph, often visiting shops and talking to customers. Moreover, he understood Middle England's "conflicting neuroses": it wants to eat ethically, but at the same time it doesn't want to pay too much. He managed a "tightrope-walking act": Waitrose matches Tesco on 8,500 products, thanks to its lower-cost Essentials line, but it also sells more lobster than its rivals.

Waitrose is certainly doing much better than Tesco, Asda, Morrison's or J Sainsbury, noted Kasmira Jefford in City AM. Only the latter posted an uptick in sales in recent weeks, according to new figures from Kantar Worldpanel. And sales growth at the discounters has picked up again. It's going to be a brutal Christmas in the supermarket sector.

Recommended

Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly
Economy

Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly

The political Brexit pantomime aside, Britain is in pretty good shape. With near-record employment, strong wage growth and modest inflation, there is …
17 Oct 2019
Insurers may be forced to pay out to firms hit by Covid
Small business

Insurers may be forced to pay out to firms hit by Covid

Hundreds of thousands of firms who have been affected by the Covid-91 pandemic may now be able to claim on their insurance policies.
25 Sep 2020
Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?
UK Economy

Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?

With his Winter Economic Plan, chancellor Rishi Sunak is hoping to support the economy through the dark months ahead as restrictions tighten again. Jo…
25 Sep 2020
Spare us these desperate measures
UK Economy

Spare us these desperate measures

Struggling firms are trying to reinvent themselves. Some are going to have to get much more radical
21 Sep 2020

Most Popular

The electric-car bubble could get an awful lot bigger from here
Renewables

The electric-car bubble could get an awful lot bigger from here

The switch to electric cars is driving a huge investment bubble. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says John Stepek. Fortunes will be made and l…
24 Sep 2020
Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?
UK Economy

Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?

With his Winter Economic Plan, chancellor Rishi Sunak is hoping to support the economy through the dark months ahead as restrictions tighten again. Jo…
25 Sep 2020
The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?
Investment strategy

The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?

Precious metals, stocks and pretty much every other asset has taken a tumble as the US dollar strengthens. Dominic Frisby looks at how long this trend…
23 Sep 2020